Abstract

Microliths They Are, Little Stones: Posthumous Prose (2020) represents the culmination of Pierre Joris's fifty‐year effort of translating the work of Paul Celan into English. The book contains a small library: aphorisms, fiction, dialogues and notes for dramatic works, theoretical prose, interviews, as well as illustrations. This review essay primarily focuses on notes and drafts toward an unfinished essay called “On the Darkness of Poetry.” It is a major statement of Celan's poetics and still stands as an unmet challenge to poets writing today. Its unfinished state should not be considered a liability but read instead as a formal argument (albeit unintended) that “the alleged thought‐ or language‐scheme of the poem is never ‘finished.’”

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