Selected Poems, Paperback Book
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


One of the major twentieth-century European poets, Paul Celan wrote poetry of exceptional linguistic brilliance and intensity drawn from his experiences, particularly of the war years and the loss of his parents in the death camps.

In his verse he sought to express 'not only what the experience felt like, but also a sense of living, with comprehension, inside the experience'.



  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Poetry by individual poets
  • ISBN: 9780140189209

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Paul Celan is a poet whose work exudes difficulty and breathes paradox. Michael Hamburger’s introduction to the Celan Selected Poems is a testament both to the difficulty of Hamburger's task as translator, and to the zeal and commitment with which he pursued this task. Paul Celan's originals are on the left and Michael Hamburger's translations on the right, so German speakers can check for themselves how good a job the translator has done.In case the foregoing reads like a “Danger-Keep Out!” warning posted on the approach to Celan's work, I'm not trying to put you off. Despite their difficulty, these poems are wonderful: fascinating, endlessly inventive. Never profligate with words, Celan's late poetry approaches the compression and density of a black hole; new words form under the extreme conditions. Michael Hamburger has done a heroic job of translating what many would regard as the untranslatable.

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