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Catching

Michael Hofmann

23 May 1996
Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew 
by John Felstiner.
Yale, 344 pp., £19.95, June 1995, 0 300 06068 8
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Breathturn 
by Paul Celan, translated by Pierre Joris.
Sun & Moon, 261 pp., $21.95, September 1995, 1 55713 218 6
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... his mother was murdered – shot in the neck – by the Germans for being unfit to work. ‘These killings, especially that of his mother, were to remain the core experiences of his life,’ writes PierreJoris in a biographical note. Celan himself did forced labour. When the Russians retook the Bukovina, he went back to Czernowitz. In 1945, having anagrammatised himself to Paul Celan, he was in ...

Thoughts about Boars and Paul Celan

Lawrence Norfolk: The Ways of the Boar

6 January 2011
... in 1996. English has no term for this ‘churning up’ but German does. Die Gebräch is ground broken up by wild boars. This is from a later poem in Atemwende (1967); the English translation is by PierreJoris. WEGE IM SCHATTEN-GEBRÄCH deiner Hand. Aus der Vier-Finger-Furche wühl ich mir den versteinerten Segen PATHS IN THE SHADOW-BREAK of your hand. From the four-finger-furrow I root up the ...

No One Leaves Her Place in Line

Jeremy Harding: Martha Gellhorn

7 May 1998
... characters before it gets bogged down, and to keep a hold on what those characters think. In Liana, the main character, a young mulatta, thinks mostly about her affair with a good-looking Frenchman, Pierre Vauclain, and her disastrous marriage to another, older Frenchman, a cynic and a dog, on the Caribbean island where the novel is set. That thinking goes round in decreasing circles of desperation and ...

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