Monday, December 17, 2012

"Follow-Up" #10

"The poem attempts to pay careful attention to everything it encounters; it has a finer sense of detail, of outline, of structure, of color, and also of the 'movements' and the 'suggestions.' These are, I believe, not qualities gained by an eye competing (or cooperating) with mechanical devices which continue being brought to ever higher degrees of perfection. No, it is a concentration that remains aware of all dates of history.

'Attention'--permit me at this point to quote a maxim of Malebranche which occurs in Walter Benjamin's essay on Kafka: 'Attention is the natural prayer of the soul.'
And what, then, would the images be?
That which is perceived and to be perceived one time, one time over and over again, and only now and only here. And the poem would then be the place where all tropes and metaphors are developed ad absurdum.

Topos study?
Certainly, but in light of that which is to be studied,: in light of u-topia.
And human beings? and all living creatures?
In this light.

Such questions! Such demands!
It is time to turn back."

--from "Meridian" by Paul Celan, adapted from Jerry Glenn's translation given in Sovereignties in Question: the Poetics of Paul Celan by Jacques Derrida (NY: Fordham UP, 2005) pp. 182-3.

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