Sunday, December 20, 2020

Celan composing poems and dictating them from a phone booth

In her review of Pierre Joris's translation of Paul Celan's first four books of poems, "Memory Rose Into Threshold Speech", Ruth Franklin notes that Celan "would sometimes compose poems while walking and dictate them to his wife from a public phone booth." In the absence of a notebook in his pocket, Celan would take a coin out of his wallet and turn to a more recent technology than writing to preserve what he'd written. These days, of course, poets who compose while walking can still turn to a phone, but it will be in their pocket, counting their steps as they count the rhythm of their verses and dictate their lines. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 20 December)


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