Workshop in Poetics: Lost Classic
A discussion about Péter Szondi’s essay on the poem “Eden,” by Paul Celan. Gilad Shiram (German Studies) will introduce the essay and offer some thoughts and questions to kick off the conversation.
In December 1967, Paul Celan visited Berlin to attend a public reading of his latest poetry collection. His friend, the literary scholar Péter Szondi, spent those days with him, going on long walks around the city. In the article we will discuss, Szondi recounts the experiences that inspired Celan to write his poem “Eden,” and unravels many of the details encrypted in the poem. His main theme is therefore the relationship between poetry and its materials, what we may call its origins. Szondi claims that the new information he provides does not influence the reading of the poem. The only thing we can learn from what he happened to witness, he says, is the way real life comes to be crystalized into poetry. Is it indeed so? Is it even possible to think of this poem today without Szondi’s text, and what would have become of it without the vital complement of his essay?