Paul Celan: The Poem Is Lonely

18 November 2019


The poem holds its ground, if you will permit me yet another extreme formulation, the poem holds its ground on its own margin. In order to endure, it constantly calls and pulls itself back from an “already-no-more” into a “still-here”.

This “still-here” can only mean speaking. Not language as such, but responding and – not just verbally- “corresponding” to something.
In other words: language actualized, set free under the sign of a radical individuation which, however, remains as aware of the limits drawn by language as of the possibilities it opens.

This “still-here” of the poem can only be found in the work of poets who do not forget that they speak from an angle of reflection which is their own existence, their own physical nature.
This shows the poem yet more clearly as one person’s language become shape and, essentially, a presence in the present.

The poem is lonely. It is lonely and en route. Its author stays with it.
Does this very fact not place the poem already here, at its inception, in the encounter, in the mytery of encounter?

The poem intends another, needs this other, needs an opposite. It goes toward it, bespeaks it.
For the poem, everything and everybody is a figure of this other toward which it is heading.
The attention which the poem pays to all that it encounters, its more acute sense of detail, outline, structure, color, but also of the “tremors and hints” – all this is not, I think, achieved by an eye competing (or concurring) with ever more precise instruments, but, rather, by a kind of concentration mindfull off all our dates.

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