The Meridian speech is one of Paul Celan's key works. This meticulous, fascinating, and, finally, compelling edition begins by unlocking what seems to be the work's multifoliate nature. Ultimately, though, and with the help of Pierre Joris's eloquent translation, we discover that that under the many surfaces of this magisterial essay is an abyss of poetic thinking struggling to emerge into the light of our encounter.
Eric Linkser and Jeff Nagy have asked me to post this CNR (call for negative reviews). I told Eric and Jeff, I was ready, willing, and able to write a crippling critique of any one of my books. After all, I am ideally suited for the assignment as I saw where the manufacturer used shoddy materials to save money and speed up the production.
The ordinary is always elusive—"near is / and difficult to grasp"—even as it is the most present actuality. And my sense, when talking about the ordinary, is always how extraordinary it is. Paradoxically, any attempt to fix the ordinary pulls it out of the everydayness in which it is situated, from which it seems to derive its power. . . .