cover image Collected Prose

Collected Prose

Paul Celan. Sheep Meadow Press, $15.95 (77pp) ISBN 978-0-935296-92-1

For Celan, the Romanian-born poet who survived a Nazi labor camp and committed suicide in 1970, poetry aspired to silence. His sparse, intense prose pieces, gathered in this small volume, reflect both his mistrust of the medium of language and his use of words ``to orient myself, to find out where I was.'' As a Jew living in postwar Paris, Celan felt a stranger to culture, society, even to nature, a feeling conveyed in the hypnotic, repetitive ``Conversation in the Mountains.'' Deftly translated from the German, the book includes essays, letters, aphorisms, parables, speeches, responses to questionnaires, and introductions to his translations of Russian poets Osip Mandelstam and Alexandercorrect (i've seen variant Aleksander).eed/that's the difficulty with transliterations, many variants.leave as Blok. ``Racked by reality and in search of it,'' Celan pushes language to the limits of expressiveness in these groping, incantatory pieces. (June)