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Poetry in Translation (CCCLX), Paul CELAN (1920, Cernăuți, Bucovina, Romania – 1970, Paris, France), ROMANIA/FRANCE: “PANTA”, “La Pente”, “Die Halde”

October 10th, 2015 · No Comments · Books, Diaspora, Famous People, International Media, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Reviews, Science, Translations

Poetry in Translation (CCCLX), Paul CELAN (1920, Cernăuți, Bucovina, Romania – 1970, Paris, France), ROMANIA/FRANCE: “PANTA”, “La Pente”, “Die Halde”

Celan Memorial - Bukcovina Cernauti (now in Ukraine)

Celan Memorial – Bukcovina Cernauti (now in Ukraine)

(1920 – 1970)

Exişti alături de mine, ca şi mine însumi:
ca o piatră
în obrazul supt al nopţii.

O, acest ochi beat
rătăcitor ca şi noi
ne confundă
şi este surprins.

Rendered in Romanian by Constantin ROMAN,
© 2015 Copyright Constantin ROMAN, London

* * * * * *

Paul CELAN -  "Choix de poèmes"

Paul CELAN – “Choix de poèmes”

(1920 – 1970)

Tu vis près de moi, telle que moi :
comme une pierre
dans la joue affaissée de la nuit.

Ô cet œil ivre
qui erre ici comme nous
nous confond à lui
et s’en étonne.

Rendered in French by Catherine RÉAULT-CROSNIER
© 2015 Copyright Catherine RÉAULT-CROSNIER

* * * * * *

(1920 – 1970)

Neben mir lebst du, gleich mir :
als ein Stein
in der eingesunkenen Wange der Nacht.

O dieses trunkene Aug,
das hier umherirrt wie wir
und uns zuweilen
staunend in eins schaut.

* * * * * *



Paul CELAN (b. 23 November 1920 ROMANIA – d. 20 April 1970 FRANCE) was a German language poet and translator. He was born as Paul Antschel to a Jewish family in Cernăuți (Czernowitz), in the then KINGDOM of ROMANIA*) and adopted the pseudonym “Paul Celan”. Celan in Romanian is an acronym of the poet’s German surname.
Paul attended the Liceul Marele Voievod Mihai (The Great Voyevode Michael Lycée), in Cernăuți, where he studied from 1934, until his graduation in 1938. During these Romanian Lycée years, as a student, Celan began to write poetry. In 1938, he traveled to France with the idea of studying medicine in Tours, which he soon abandoned. On the way back to Romania he passed through Berlin, as the events of the Kristallnacht unfolded… He returned to Cernăuţi, in 1939, where he enrolled to the University to study literature and Romance languages. Considering emigration to Palestine, Celan left Cernăuţi in 1945, for Bucharest, where he remained until 1947. During this latter period, Celan was active as both a translator of Russian literature into Romanian, and, as a poet, publishing his own work under a variety of pseudonyms. The literary scene, in Bucharest, during the last years of the Romanian Kingdom, was richly populated with surrealists of Jewish stock, like Gellu Naum, Ilarie Voronca, Gherasim Luca, Paul Păun, or Dolfi Trost. Here Celan also met with the poets Rose Ausländer and Emannuel Weissglas, whose works would inspire his own Romanian poem “Tangoul Morţii” (“Death Tango”) published in May 1947.

Emil CIORAN (b. Transylvania, 1911 - d. Paris, 1995), celebrated in France as one of the greatest 20th c writers - CIORAN's circle of friends, apart of CELAN, were Mircea ELIADE, Eugène IONESCO,  Samuel BECKETT, and Henri MICHAUX, to mention just the closer circle.

Emil Cioran (b. Transylvania, 1911 – d. Paris, 1995), celebrated in France as one of the greatest 20th c writers – He was a friend of Mircea ELIADE, Eugène IONESCO, Paul CELAN, Samuel Beckett, and Henri Michaux.

At the beginning of 1968, Paul CELAN met in Paris his fellow countryman, Emil CIORAN, who noted in his Journal:
He appeared gauche (a sentiment always evident when one tries to hide some essential aspect supposedly known by everybody), This essential thing, about which CELAN never wanted to allude to, was the fact that he was for several months a patient of a psychiatric hospital in Paris. It is evident that one is never capable to talk about one’s own such crises… and what crises!
CIORAN noted further in his Journal:

The suicide of the exceedingly labile poet, Paul Celan, who jumped into the river Seine. His body was found last Monday. This charming yet unsufferable man, ferocious with bouts of madness, whom I was very fond of, but would flee from him, being anxious not to wound him, because he was wounded by all and everything. Each time I would meet him I was careful and I was watching myself to the extent that after half an hour I felt quite exhausted.
On 20 april 1970, Paul Celan jumped, in the river Seine, from the Pont Mirabeau, sung by Guillaume Apollinaire and quoted on a bronze plaque affixed to the bridge:

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Et nos amours
Faut-il qu’il m’en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine
Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

(Le Pont Mirabeau, 1913).

Paul CELAN , a native of Bucovina, is considered one of the 20th century’s major German-language poets – a childhood language and affinity which he shared with the Transylvanian-born Emil CIORAN and not only, as they both wrote and published in Romanian, German and French.

The Pont Mirabeau from which CELAN jumped to his death

The Pont Mirabeau from which CELAN jumped to his death

*) BUCOVINA is a Romanian historic province occupied since the 1770s to 1916 by the Austrians, following which it rejoined Romania. During the WWII the Soviets occupied Bucovina and Stalin made it a Ukrainian province, sending the native population to the Gulag (see: “Twenty years in Siberia” by Anita Nandris-Cudla).

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