Paul Célan, real name Paul Leo Antschel (1920-1970), is one of the most prominent German poets of the 20th century. Born in Bukovina, which belonged to Romania at the time, Czernowitz (German name, Romanian Cernăuţi), now Chernivtsi (Чернивци) in Ukraine. He ended his life in Paris, jumping into the Seine. The alias Celan is an anagram of the Romanian Ancel. Cēlans is known to the Latvian reader in the retellings of Māras Čaklā and Māras Misiņa, published in the book "Poppy and memory" (Rīga: Liesma, 1983).
Celan grew up in a German-speaking Jewish family. Childhood passed in a multinational and multicultural environment. Father's Zionist beliefs are accompanied by mother's passion for German language and literature. As a teenager, Paula is interested in socialism and the struggle for survival of the Spanish republic. The reason for the many trips to Western Europe related to higher education is the "Jewish quota" in Romanian universities. Returning to Chernivtsi, the young man studies literature and Romance languages.
The thread of Celan's poetry does not come easily to the hand. You have to delve into signs and reminiscences until certain boundaries disappear, sound and meaning are layered like words and silence in a real vernacular.Jana Vērdiņa
"Read! Read constantly, the meaning will come by itself!" This is what Celan said to one of his readers. Célan's riddles have occupied not only groups of translators and literary scholars, but Jacques Derrida, Maurice Blanchot and Hans-Georg Gadamer have each dedicated a whole book to them. This cool selection was completed at a time when Ukraine has been ravaged by Russian occupying troops for half a year. The core of the book consists of poems from the collections "Nevienamroze" and "Pavediensaules".