From We Who Are Left Behind … by Matthew Landis:
Celan refers to the poem as if it is a solitary organism in search of an ecology. “The poem”, writes Celan, “wants to reach the Other, it needs this Other, it needs a vis a vis. It searches it out and addresses it.”1 The poem pays great attention to and in fact lusts after this Other. Celan’s description of the poem’s “sense of detail, of outline, of structure”2 is reminiscent of the great care taken by a lover examining her partner’s body. The curves, textures, and totality of the body are subject to the gaze of the one who desires after it. It is a desire which is intensified in it’s repetition. But this repetition is not differential; for Celan the images in the poem are “perceived and to be perceived one time, one time over and over again, and only now and only here.”3
Each poem is the one path that seeks to send the voice to a receptive “thou”, it is a “sending oneself ahead of oneself […] A kind of homecoming”4 which is always already a striking out for one’s home at the moment of arrival. It is a homecoming deferred; the poem emerges as that which is not yet found, but is to be found. The poem seeks itself, seeks its own homecoming even as it embarks upon the journey which is the coming-home. This openness is sought by the poem so that its “tropes and metaphors” can be developed “ad absurdum.”5 The logic of the “ad absurdum” is the impossibility of the arrival of the poem because its images, its hidden thoughts are rehearsed for an audience only once, one time, in the here and now6. Celan acknowledges that such poems—the “absolute poem”7—do not exist, but also recognizes that this perfection, this utopia, is the demand of the poem the questioning or indetermination of this demand haunts it. The poem demands presence, that is, self-presence, it demands here and now and recognizes its own lack in its desire, and asks why it has been separated from its own voice—it seeks to know why it only speaks in silence and is only addressed in its absence.
Much more. Read here
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