Friday, 22 August 2008

paul celan

You enquire into language, into thinking, into poetry. You put your question succintly. Allow me to be as succint in my answer.

I do not believe there is such a thing as bilingual poetry. Double-talk, yes, this you may find among our various contemporary arts and acrobatics of the word, especially those which manage to establish themselves in blissful harmony with each fashion of consumer culture, being as polyglot as they are polychrome.

Poetry is by necessity a unique instance of language. Hence never - forgive the truism, but poetry, like truth, goes all to often to the dogs - hence never what is double.

Reply to a Questionnaire from the Flinker Bookstore, Paris, 1961

The subject of the study was 'The Problem of the Bilingual'

trans rosemarie waldrop

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