A Conversation on Paul Celan: We Are All Migrants of Language

Durs Grünbein and Michael Eskin discuss Paul Celan's lasting influence and legacy.

This conversation is a heavily abbreviated English version of ‘Der Spiritus des Lebendigen’, first published – also in shortened form – in Sinn & Form (January, 2020), and, in its entirety, in: Michael Eskin, ‘Schwerer werden. Leichter sein.’ Gespräche um Celan mit Durs Grünbein, Gerhard Falkner, Aris Fioretos und Ulrike Draesner (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2020). It is also published in Paul Celan Today: A Companion, edited by Michael Eskin, Karen Leeder and Marko Pajević.

2020 marks the centennial of Paul Celan’s birth and the semi-centennial of his death by suicide. Paying tribute to the late poet in the 1970 commemorative issue of Études germaniques, renowned twentieth-century French Germanist Claude David famously called Celan ‘le plus grand poète français de langue allemande’ – the greatest French poet of the German language.

Michael Eskin, philosopher, author, translator, literary critic and publisher sat down with poet and essayist Durs Grünbein to discuss Paul Celan’s legacy.

Michael Eskin: When and where did you first hear Celan’s name? Do you still remember its impact on you? What you felt? What you thought?

Durs Grünbein: I came across the name ‘Celan’ for the first time in the works of the philosopher Th. W. Adorno. He always spoke about a poet who tried to save the German language after Auschwitz, single-handedly shouldering, it appeared, the burden of history. I hadn’t yet read anything by him, but from then on I had the most profound respect for this name. Even though it wasn’t really a name so much as a secret code among the initiated – a catchword almost that also had the ring of a chemical element. When I finally did read ‘Death Fugue’, I was surprised. I don’t know exactly what I had been expecting – dark, hermetic texts of extreme difficulty perhaps, but not that. Celan, by the way, was not part of the school curriculum in East Germany. No teacher had spoiled his singsong for me through rote didacticism. Which is why I encountered Celan’s magical, shamanistic lines utterly unprepared, in a state of complete innocence, so to speak.

The word ‘shamanistic’ comes to mind involuntarily here, by way of nonsensical word play: for what I grasped then was that for Celan everything revolved around shame, great shame – the shame of one who was ashamed that hardly anyone among his contemporaries was ashamed. At that time, I also learned everything about his life: about his parents’ death; about his conscription to forced labour; about his move to Paris and his reading at the Gruppe 47 gathering; about the Goll Affair and his suicide on the Seine. Since then, I haven’t stopped thinking about the painful question of shame. Why was this sensitive, sophisticated human being so ashamed for his fellow men that he grew ever more thin-skinned, ever more suspicious to the point of paranoia, until he could finally no longer stand it and only wished to disappear?

You could approach his works from several perspectives. As an accusation directed at Germans for murdering Jews and for repressing the crime after the war. As an attempt to escape from the horrors of history into poetry by claiming language for himself like a child – the child that mumbles and talks to itself. Or as a relentless battle with shame – a shame of many colours: the shame of the survivor who couldn’t protect his parents; the shame of the speaker who felt at home in the language of the murderers because it was the language of his mother; the shame of the poet who knows instinctively that modern poetry always only speaks of itself – evincing strong affinities with the pathology of narcissism – and who senses that he can never fully grow up because his uniquely profound experience of language cuts him off from life; shame for all the false notes in the poems of others; shame for the imitators; the shame of one who can trust himself as little as all the others, of one who ever lives on the brink of depression and is ashamed of it; the shame, finally, of the ‘idiosyncratician’ of language whose linguistic sensitivity drives him into ever deeper isolation, who is literally revulsed by conversation with others, and who feels miserable about it. ‘The hollowed-out heart, / wherein they install feeling. / Homeland Ready- / made parts’ [‘Das ausgeschachtete Herz, / darin sie Gefühl installieren. / Großheimat Fertig- / teile’]. You can’t say it any more clearly. I never understood why Celan has been accused of hermeticism. But I’ve also always wondered how so many could so easily relate to him. It didn’t work for me.

Michael Eskin: What I find particularly interesting here is the link that can be established between your reflections on Celan’s shame and your own treatment of the subject. The word you often use in your poetry and essays to express your own shame regarding your historical-existential emplacement is ‘Peinlichkeit’, ‘embarrassment’.

Do you see a connection between yourself and Celan? Do you feel a certain embarrassment or shame for your fellow men, which might be akin to the shame you perceive in Celan?

Durs Grünbein: In Berlin, I only have to step outside to trip over one of those stolpersteine – ‘stumbling stones’ – scattered across the city’s sidewalks, and it starts all over again. I often take the time to read the names of our former neighbours – deported all of them. Many were retirees, but there were also small children and newlyweds. Then I think to myself: what a dirty rotten mess. Apartments confiscated, people crammed into cattle cars never to return. ‘Murdered in Minsk’ it might say, and we think of the Belorussian capital of today. But the actual place of death was Maly Trostinec, where most were shot on arrival. Not many know the place, it doesn’t figure prominently in the nomenclature of the extermination archipelago. Many Germans today would be surprised if they were told what happened to those erstwhile Berliners after they had arrived. Those were the killing fields in the East, random execution pits behind the Eastern front. Much of this Holocaust chapter still lies in the dark. And it is then that I feel shame and rage welling up inside me about how little is still generally known. So much on the subject of Vergangenheitsbewältigung –also one of those verbal monstrosities cooked up by post-war Germany.

I feel shame for the overall lack of a sense of injustice; shame for the shocking absence of imagination. Defenceless human beings, civilians slaughtered in the wings of the theatres of war, and still most apparently find it hard to imagine themselves in their place. The non-Jew becomes an Aryan again by remaining unaffected by the whole thing. It’s not his family’s business, it only concerned the others. That’s not a good foundation for a society. And more and more often voices can be heard that wish to put all that behind – it was, after all, only a drop of ‘bird shit’ on Germany’s otherwise glorious history. It’s precisely here, at this juncture, that every single one of Celan’s words sets in. It is difficult for him to compose a poem because the language in which he writes is poisoned. I am ashamed of the apathy, the coldness of heart, the often clumsy and cramped language of the politicians who officially deal with these issues. The matter, meanwhile, is fairly simple from a human and civil rights perspective: murder is murder is murder. And no one has to be Jewish to say to himself: the other – that’s you. Look in the mirror: you too don’t want to be murdered. Shame also for the actions of a state that ordered the extermination of fellow citizens in the name of the nation. It’s embarrassing to say this, but it must be said again and again until the very last one among us sees himself in the place of the murdered.

Heiner Müller once told me a Jewish joke whose black humour stuck in my craw: ‘That Auschwitz business – the Germans will never forgive us for it’. Why not make shame the starting point of understanding? That’s how Kafka’s Josef K. ends. The last sentence in The Trial, the moment of execution, reads: ‘… it was as though shame would survive him’. I, for one, will be survived by this shame.

Michael Eskin: Claude David, the renowned French Germanist, once called Celan the ‘greatest French poet of the German language’. Do you agree with this characterization? Or do you see him as a German poet who happened also to have lived in France? Is it important to you to site Celan in terms of nationality?

Durs Grünbein: The truly fascinating thing about his poetry is its Ortlosigkeit, its ‘placelessness’ – understood not as a deficiency so much as a moral stance. His is the state of the universal migrant who had never been granted a home. As a German-speaking Jew, he was driven out of his culture of origin – call it Romania or Ukraine, depending on how you look at it. Or rather: he couldn’t stay where his parents had been murdered. He doesn’t want to go to Germany, where he can be present, at most, through his books, but he can’t physically live there. There, the murderers ran free, or acted with unheard-of brazenness at their trials. I dare you to re-watch the footage of the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial. Our own air is still poisoned with Nazism, he would suffocate in it.

A rhetorical question: why didn’t Celan move to the GDR? Because they would have clamped down on him as a formalist and bourgeois l’art-pour-l’art poet. No one would have published his books. Even his dalliance with the Russian Revolution wouldn’t have helped him.

In France, he remains the stranger, the foreigner, even though he completely assimilates in term of language. As a poet, he turns his ear toward tidings carried his way by German radio waves. They deliver signals from the dear departed, and he in turn responds from his own secret station. To the French, he remains an exotic character writing poetry in German. They discover him later by way of philosophy – ironically in connection with the work of a much contested thinker who was deeply complicit in Hitler’s tyranny: Martin Heidegger. Jacques Derrida, the French-Algerian, will recognize his own fate in Celan’s, and induct him once and for all into the sacred halls of philosophy. I once attended one of his lectures in Paris, in which he spoke about Celan’s precarious standing in the German-speaking lands for two hours. ‘No one witnesses for the witness’ and ‘pontic nothing’ were mentioned. I can still hear the lines in the philosopher’s wonderful diction and French accent. I understood then: for Celan, language itself constitutes exile. He is the essentially banished, who can never arrive, and as such he identifies with all the other exiles in poetry. Their proximity is immediate. And so we encounter Ovid, Dante, Mandelshtam, Tsvetayeva – the dialogue in the transit spaces commences. A Frenchman Celan never was. And in contemporary German poetry, he is in his own league.

Michael Eskin: Is there an affinity between you and Celan as far as the question of Ortlosigkeit is concerned? Being ‘underway’ – the person’s in general as well as the poem’s – is one of the core motifs in Celan’s œuvre. Your own work in turn is shot through with the motif of ‘transit’: in your poems and essays, you speak of airports, waiting areas, real and imagined journeys across the globe, and even into outer space and all the way to the bottom of the sea. At one point, you depict yourself as ‘ever underway, ever busy checking watches and translating from one life sphere into the next’, as ‘nowhere at home and never arriving’. And yet, contrary to Celan, you somehow remain in ‘your’ country, the land of your origin (even though the GDR no longer exists).

Do you view yourself as a German poet or as a poet who writes in German, one who is at home everywhere and nowhere, living in a state of universal migration?

This question is important to me because I, for one, have never experienced your poetry as properly and strictly ‘German’ – whatever this may mean. I’ve always perceived something quite ‘non-German’ in your imagery, use of language, sense of phrasing and melody, in the very ‘set’ – to use Roman Jakobson’s term – of your poetics; something that casts a somewhat bitter, ironic light on the geographical contingency of your birth. I have a similar sense reading Celan’s poetry.

Durs Grünbein: I don’t feel uncomfortable with your impression. The poems should feel a bit strange, different from everything else, perhaps even historically atypical. Which isn’t to say anachronistic. Preferably exotic, or, which is even better, ‘foreign’.

I experimented a lot before publishing my first poem. I was quite dissatisfied with the banal Normaldeutsch of many of my contemporaries. It was only much later that I discovered its appeal. And it took a long time until I learned to appreciate the deviations of so-called Pop-Lyrik – only after I had come across Apollinaire and recognized him as the source of some of the currents in international post-war poetry (American, French, and German). It was the exotic that impressed me most in the poems I liked to read. I liked Hölderlin’s ‘Kalamatta language’, Gottfried Benn’s import-export trade with colonial metaphors, Frank O’Hara’s ‘catchiness’. I always liked the runaways, for instance Elizabeth Bishop, who first moved to Paris, and then to Brazil, to free herself from the linguistic conventions of New England. And of course: Wallace Stevens, who developed his poetics of the American South in Florida, the ‘Secretary of the moon’ with his longing for the order of the vegetative (‘The Order of Key West’). That the key to Western thought must have washed up on the shores of other continents after all the waves of globalization – Asia, the tropics, Africa – was something I immediately understood.

All of which was very much in tune with Carl Einstein, the smartest of avant-gardists, whose sole aim was to re-enchant a disenchanted world by dint of new myths and totems. That’s how, one fine day, antiquity in all of its freshness wafted my way, as if after a long sea voyage that allowed me to see the coast in a new light. I know that this meant going out on a limb, catapulting myself out of my own narrow cultural confines. But it had to be done, for time and space had long been universally jumbled. We are all migrants of language. Every state library is, to quote Benn, ‘a brothel of sentences’, a ‘delirious paradise’, and in the midst of the din of the metropolis, leafing through atlases and picture books, you come across a ‘dream-laden word’ …

Apparently, the GDR was, from the very beginning, much too small for the flights of my imagination. Later on, concrete daily life in the West would also become too stifling. And so, I had to take a deep dive into antiquity, into the baroque age, into ancient Rome, Baudelaire, Lautréamont and so on. Suddenly, Columbus was looking over my shoulder, flying fish were jerking in the gutter, and the West Indies were at my doorstep.

Michael Eskin: You once said that ‘not much will remain of the poetry of that insane twentieth century, but certainly some Benn and Celan’. Could you explain this a bit further?

Durs Grünbein: The juxtaposition of these two names – questionable in itself to many – simply means: these two, contemporaries of the German-Jewish catastrophe, irreducibly belong. After all, it’s the poets that a language community holds onto. You can’t intentionally organize it through a politics of memory, it simply is what it is. As long as we have data carriers – yesterday’s book, today’s internet – the poems of these two will travel through time. We sense the flame that burns in our collective memory, we sense what reliably lights up in our moments of longing. Celan is one and Benn the other, that’s it.

Benn will most likely show up on the reading lists of the conservative Right (it’s already happening), while Celan will probably find himself in the camp of Germany’s critics. True poetry, however, survives the civil war, or any schism for that matter, because it is animated by something that overcomes all elements of opposition. It may be easy for an unaffected German to sweep aside Celan’s grief. As long, though, as we are endowed with a sensitivity to language and possess a sense of our own history with all its vagaries, no one will be able to avoid Celan. Benn, conversely, is good for certain (blue) hours. Both boast explosive compounds, bold chemical word formulas that are preserved in free radicals of expression independently of their poems. Winged words they used to be called. Both poets have left us a rich thesaurus of such winged words.

Michael Eskin: Benn famously argued that poetry is (and ought to be) strictly ‘monological’, ‘addressing no one’, concerned exclusively ‘with the poet himself’, articulating the poet’s ‘self-encounter’. Celan, on the other hand, argued the exact opposite: poetry is by its very nature ‘dialogical’ and always strives to encounter the other …

Your own poetics seems to oscillate between these two poles: on the one hand, you characterise poetry as a ‘tangle of the voices of many ages’ and, thus, as dialogical; on the other hand you underline the ‘monological nature’ of poetry and call it ‘monophonic’. Echoing Benn, you even go so far as to suggest that ‘poetry is above all self-encounter’.

How does this work? Could you comment on this tension in your poetics?

I am asking in particular because you and Celan are, to the best of my knowledge, the only two German-language poets to have adopted the legacy of Russian-Jewish poet Osip Mandelshtam as a centrepiece of your own respective poetics. The lynchpin of Mandelshtam’s poetics in turn, which supplied Celan with the crucial metaphor of poetry as ‘message in a bottle’, is that both man and poem are essentially dialogical, oriented toward an interlocutor. How does one square Benn, Celan and Mandelshtam?

Durs Grünbein: Your question is quite devious. I feel cornered, and I don’t know how to get out. It’ll only be possible by breaking up the very concepts of monologue and dialogue. One would have to show that even the most monological poem (in Benn’s sense) is subterraneously animated by call and response, by a longing for the unknown reader who will one day embrace it. The monologist would be one who no longer wishes to be meddled or interfered with, he banks away from speech, getting high on the flights of his own soul. But he never fully succeeds, and he knows it. One would then have to show that even the dialogic exchange with a ‘you’, with another person, harbours a caveat: the fear of being misunderstood, deceived, accused of intellectual theft.

Since Die Niemandsrose Celan has an ever greater sense of being hunted down by the literary posse, the lyric police, who suspect him of plagiarism. His dialogue with the persecuted poets, those who were chafing among their contemporaries (Georg Büchner and Heinrich Heine, Hölderlin, Tsvetayeva and Mandelshtam) becomes his safe space, where he can speak freely, more freely than with hardly any of his many epistolary interlocutors. His dialogue with the dead gives him stability throughout the political ice age of the 50s and 60s, during which the murdered were murdered all over again amid the intoxication of oblivion on the part of the busy survivors in the nation of murderers. In this situation, he sends out poems as bottled messages, in the hope that they might one day wash up on ‘heartland’, wherever that may be.

I consider Celan the greatest post-war poet. If, however, you are asking to whom his poems are addressed, you will find yourself in dire straits. Who might this ‘Other’ be? The distant person or the next best, the neighbour, the sceptical contemporary, perhaps even the enemy next door? Or is it one of the unreachable departed, representative of all of them? The wandering Jew in the Mandorla, or a cloud of smoke? An absent God?

Michael Eskin: You are absolutely right, one has to question the very notions of monologue and dialogue, if only because language itself is anything but monological. Still, though, going along with Celan and Mandelshtam, the distinction does carry existential and ethical value:  for isn’t it precisely about Celan’s repudiation of the monologist’s gesture of ‘splendid isolation’?

But to return to your own poetry, which, in my view, is ever open to ‘meddling’: in the cycle ‘Ashes for Breakfast’ from the volume After the Satires, you openly engage in multiple dialogues with various poetic forebears – Baudelaire (‘Thus he languidly acted the dandy … / And saw how it croaked in the gutter, the limping swan’), Rilke (‘No Apollo, every lowlife on the corner tells you you have to change your life’) and Hölderlin (‘But the poets, you know it, are difficult folk / Who no longer found anything’), to name only a few. Celan, too, appears to address the reader through the mask of Grünbein: in the signal word ‘Ashes’ for instance, which, as far as German post-war poetry is concerned, cannot but invoke Shulamith’s ‘ashen hair’ from ‘Death Fugue’. Celan’s voice is even more strongly audible in lines such as ‘I have eaten ashes for breakfast, the dust / that falls from the dailies … // I have eaten ashes for breakfast. My daily diet’. It’s virtually impossible not to read these lines as a rewriting of, or a variation on, Celan’s ‘Black milk of dawn we drink it at night / we drink at noon and in the morning’ – again from ‘Death Fugue’.

Are these allusions to Celan intentional or coincidental? Could you comment on this? Are we witnessing a truly bold identification of Grünbein’s poetic ‘I’ with the ‘we’ of the victims commemorated in ‘Death Fugue’ on the one hand, and, on the other hand, an ironic appropriation of Celan’s Holocaust legacy in the ostensibly trivial context of daily news?

Durs Grünbein: Banal you say. I would rather say ‘transitory’ – in the sense of the transitoriness of all words and phenomena. Words travel, that is their scandalous destiny. A word like ‘ashes’ is, in and of itself, owing to its very meaning, untethered. It wafts and breezes through texts, just like those ashes that the wind blew away and that mixed with the dust … Nothing to be done: these dead (and their ashes) are on the conscience of an entire nation. Am I being sufficiently clear? ‘The truth is concrete: I breathe stones’, Heiner Müller once wrote. One could change it to: ‘I breathe ashes’.

Michael Eskin: You couldn’t be more clear, especially in our shared ‘tender … mother tongue’ that ‘silently / Swallowed everything’, as you write in Porzellan, in which ‘ashes’ also constitutes a central motif.  

What about the ‘ashes’ of Porzellan? A poetic cycle of forty-nine ten-liners in which you conjure the destruction of your native city, Dresden, in February 1945, from the perspective of, among others, the ‘girl Rosi (a tender four)’, and which palpably quakes with Celanian overtones. Are we justified in hearing Celan in the background? For instance in your reference to the ‘May Beetle Song’ [‘Maikäferlied], which also prominently figures in the final poem, ‘In the air’ [‘In der Luft’], of Celan’s Die Niemandsrose and which is about war, conflagration, and loss? Or in a phrase such as ‘This booming’ [‘Dieses Dröhnen’], which immediately summons, through all the Allied squadrons’ din, Celan’s poem ‘A Booming’ [‘Ein Dröhnen], which in turn speaks of the (historical, existential) ‘truth’ that has ‘stepped forth’ amid humanity [‘es ist die Wahrheit, / selbst unter die Menschen getreten’]. Or in your recourse to musical compositions such as Bach’s ‘The Art of the Fugue’, which cannot but invoke Celan’s ‘Death Fugue’? Or in your frequent use of the phrase ‘in one’ [‘in eins’] (‘Here, many in one, the city shows itself as the one’, which palpably harks back to Celans poem ‘In eins’, which in turn commemorates many a fight for freedom in one poem (the French and Russian revolutions as well as the Spanish civil war, among others)? Or in your strategic placement of the word ‘happened’ [‘geschah’] – as in the oft-repeated narrative formula ‘What happened then’ [‘Was dann geschah’], or the following hemistich: ‘It happened here. What?’ – which cannot but take us back to Celan’s poem ‘What happened’ [‘Was gschah’]? Or in a verse like ‘Descend [‘Steig hinab’], once again, into the air-raid shelter’, which ostensibly cites a famous line from Celan’s early poem ‘Corona’ – ‘My eye descends to the sex of the lover’ [‘Mein Aug steigt hinab zum Geschlecht der Geliebten’]? Or in the cycle’s very title, which, as I have argued elsewhere, can be read as a subtle dedication to Celan (‘pour Celan’)? Or, last but not least, in the very name of your mother – ‘Rosi’ – through whose ‘tender’ four-year-old eyes, we cannot help glimpsing Celan’s own No One’s Rose, which in turn invokes the ‘Rose’ of Rilke’s epitaph – ‘Rose, oh pure contradiction, desire / To be no one’s sleep beneath so many / Lids’ – which you in turn summon as one of the motifs of the ‘destruction of your city’ in a ‘clearing of time’, ‘on the lids, inside’, whenever you close your ‘eyes’?

Is all this but a mirage, or are we witnessing, in Porzellan – arguably, your most personal and autobiographically intimate work – an intense and intentional dialogue with Celan?  

Durs Grünbein: I see. We’re getting down to business now. You’re touching the raw spot here. Much has been written on the destruction of Dresden, historians have argued about it. Some have questioned the justification for choosing the city as a target. Even though it had served a strategic military purpose as an arms industry and transportation hub, et cetera. The GDR’s official narrative went as follows: ‘Anglo-American bomber planes’ perfidiously destroyed a defenceless city, the baroque pearl on the Elbe, in a kind of overkill. Which was pretty close to the propaganda speak spouted during the war by Goebbels, who liked to refer to ‘Anglo-American air terror’ and ‘perfidious attacks’.

Dresden has become a sealed space since falling under the sway of revisionism, which abuses the abiding grief over the city’s destruction for its own purposes. Every year, come February 13, the fight over who has the interpretive prerogative flares up again. We know that the city is a favoured gathering spot of the extreme Right. A case of failed, deformed mourning, or the inability to mourn?

Porzellan reflects, and reflects on, all that, I hope. It was supposed to be a personal intervention on the subject, a meditation on a familiar position in the context of a much broader history.

Brecht was right when he wrote: ‘Our cities are only a part / Of all the cities we destroyed’. That was in a poem of 1944, written one year before the bitter end. From a purely statistical viewpoint, what one of the standard histories on Dresden during the Air War tells us is true: ‘Dresden – that was the most violent conventional bombing attack on the European continent, with the biggest conflagrations’. But Rotterdam, Coventry, London and Warsaw – not to mention Guernica – preceded Dresden. So, let’s not confuse cause and effect. The very gesture of tallying up victims and comparing degrees of destruction is obscene. Certainly, for many civilians the tragic aspects of Hitler’s reign only fully swam into ken in the course of the destruction of German cities. It was much too late for an about-face. A bitter 1943 quip by Brecht says it all: ‘Long before enemy bombers appeared above / Our cities had become uninhabitable’.

Why uninhabitable? Because they were all governed by the terror of the Nazi surveillance state. Because people could no longer breathe freely, because their lives had been ‘booked’.

In a rare poetic moment Celan captures his impression of Nazi Germany. In 1938, en route to France, during a stopover in Berlin, only a few days before the Night of Broken Glass. The episode is commemorated in the poem ‘LA CONTRESCARPE’:

Via Krakow
You came, at the Anhalter
Bahnhof
a smoke floated toward your gaze,
it was already of tomorrow …

Über Krakau
bist du gekommen, am Anhalter
Bahnhof
floß deinen Blicken ein Rauch zu,
der war schon von morgen …

Porzellan, too, contains multiple irruptions of the biographical. And that’s where my dialogue with Celan, to whom – let’s just say it, once and for all – the entire cycle is dedicated without my explicitly having made a note of it, gets going. A convoluted homage …

This Poem on the Demise of My City, as the subtitle reads, is an embrace of and into the void. Ten lines of exposure each to conjure the ghosts. It’s a dialogue with many participants – Brecht and Thomas Mann, Goethe and Auden, Bach and Richard Strauß, Samuel Beckett, who visited Dresden during the Nazi era, calling it the ‘porcelain madonna’ – and, above all, Celan …

NoteS

This conversation is a heavily abbreviated English version of ‘Der Spiritus des Lebendigen’, first published – also in shortened form – in Sinn & Form (January, 2020), and, in its entirety, in: Michael Eskin, ‘Schwerer werden. Leichter sein.’ Gespräche um Celan mit Durs Grünbein, Gerhard Falkner, Aris Fioretos und Ulrike Draesner (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2020). It is also published in Paul Celan Today: A Companion, edited by Michael Eskin, Karen Jane Leeder and Marko Pajević.

Check out this German-language interview with Michael Eskin on the occasion of Paul Celan’s 100th birthday in the program “radioWelt” by public radio station Bayern 2 (broadcast on 23/11/2020):

Learn more in this related title from De Gruyter
Michael Eskin and Durs Grünbein

Michael Eskin and Durs Grünbein

Michael Eskin is an award-winning philosopher, author, translator, literary critic, and publisher. Durs Grünbein is a poet and essayist.

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