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Translated by Ian Fairley
Categories: 20th Century, German
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
(Pub. May 2007)
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SNOW PART, pitched, to the last,
in the updraught, before
for ever unwindowed
to skite flat dreams
to hew out the word-
shadows, to cord them
round the cramp-iron
in the pit.
A few months before his death, Paul Celan described Schneepart as his 'strongest and boldest' book. A response to the turbulent events of 1968 - the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the attempted assassination of a student leader in Berlin - the collection is haunted by images of earlier violence and resistance in a dark European century: the hanging of anti-Hitler conspirators in 1944, the shooting of Rosa Luxembourg in 1919. These are poems of an Ice Age, their terrain the clarity of the limestone alp with its subterranean presence of caves and abysses.
Snow Part is the first translation of Schneepart to be published in English. Its seventy poems were written between December 1967 and October 1968, and published in 1971, a year after Celan's death. To this volume, Ian Fairley adds some twenty posthumously published poems closely linked to Schneepart.
Cover image: Negative of the 1919 solar eclipse, from Sir Arthur Eddington's report on the expedition to verify Einstein's prediction of the bending of light around the sun, in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (1920).
Awards won by Paul Celan Winner, 1990 European Poetry Translation Prize (Poems of Paul Celan)
Praise for Paul Celan 'The correspondence includes lovely Sachs poems and interesting accounts of their meeting and of contact with other prominent writers of the time. The introduction and afterword are indispensable, as is the entire book.'
Praise for Ian Fairley 'Fairley's translations are challenging and inventive, prepared to take risks and above all to convey the uncompromising demands of the originals: his versions also show an impressive sensitivity to the rhythms and sound effects of the German.'
Poetry Review 'Fairley's endlessly careful and brilliantly resourceful translations...he never fails to address himself to the music of the originals.'
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