Friday, October 23, 2009

to speak, to orient

"In this language I have sought ... to write poems: so as to speak, to orient myself, to find out where I was and where I was meant to go, to sketch out reality for myself."

- Paul Celan

woodcut of Celan by Dirk Hagner.


  1. Funny that I should come across your 'Blog' and find a quote by Paul Celan, as I was recently given a collection of his Poems. I had not before read any of Mister Celan's words and now I seem to see them everywhere.But I am not complaining. His words speak truth and I am liking this 'to speak, to orient'

  2. I like this quote because so much of the general population sees poetry as flighty, rather than centreing or grounding.

  3. Hi Sarah, thanks for dropping by. :) It's funny how 'synchronicity' works sometimes... e.g. you hear a word or name for what you think is the first time, and then starts popping up everywhere.

    Maxine: definitely. How language grounds us in a place, a present. How (perhaps) poetry can make us think and live ecologically? How the future is a poem?

  4. that woodcut is wonderful, as is the idea of poetry (and all art, really) as a kind of mapmaking -

  5. Hi Jason,

    Yeah I like the map-making idea too.

    A related quote from Celan: "Reality is not simply there, it must be searched for and won."