T H E J O U R N E Y
One could say that my journey with Celan began in 2008 in the studio at my table with the poetry bundle Mohn und Gedächtnis of Paul Celan. The physical journey began in 2017 and took me over meridians from east to west, over hills, through cities, along rivers, past houses and streets and squares. I wanted to literally walk the land where Celan had lived. I encountered Celan in his birthplace and houses where he grew up, the secondary schools he had attended in Czernowitz (now Chernivtsi, Ukraine), the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, at the Place de la Contrescarpe where he lived and worked, at the Patisserie Viennoise where he bought chocolate and at the foot of the Pyrenees in the city of Pau, where his Irrfahrt began. Along the way I met people who, in their own various ways, are continuing in the footprints left behind by Celan. In old buildings of the Académie Française, in the Jardin du Luxembourg at the Fontaine Médicis, the Caffè Lavazza on Broadway, at Café Florian in Berlin, in my hometown Utrecht and in other places I have spoken with thinkers, poets and writers, including those who knew Celan, translators, musicians, artists, journalists, filmmakers.
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