I'm on a really strong Ilya Kaminsky kick right now... He's a little more coherent then Celan, but he has the most interesting weaving of memory and fancy and life into his poems.
If I speak for the dead, I must leave
the animal of my body,
I must write the same poem over and over,
for an empty page is the white flag of their surrender.
If I speak for them, I must walk on the ede
of myself, I must live as a blind man
who runs through rooms without
touching the furniture.
Yes, I live. I can cross the streets asking "What year is it?"
I can dance in my sleep and laugh
in front of the mirror.
Even sleep is a prayer, Lord,
I will praise your madness, and
in a language not mine, speak
of music that wakes us, music
in which we move. For whatever I say
is a kind of petition, and the darkest
days must I praise.http://www.bornmagazine.org/projects/authors_prayer/project.htmlhttp://www.ilyakaminsky.com
This poem, for whatever reason, haunts me:( Maestro )
The dynamics between him and Celan are so different. He writes in English though much of his work thus far, especially in this volume that harkens back to his birthplace in Odessa, involves Russia, a homeland that's no longer home. On the other side of this struggle is Celan, someone who survived the Holocaust and became a German poet, though he resided in Paris until the day he committed suicide at fifty. He grew this love-hate relationship with the German language, unable to resist writing in it though he was fluent in several other languages. If anyone's interested, I highly recommend "Death Fugue." One of his earliest works and clearly influenced by his past though it's a past he tries to avoid wallowing in in his later pieces. http://mason.gmu.edu/~lsmithg/deathfugue.html