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Paul Celan (1920-1970) is widely regarded as Europe’s greatest postwar poet. Born in Romania, Celan was an eastern European Holocaust survivor, who settled in Paris after the war where he remained, until his death. Celan, who spoke at least six languages, worked as a translator of French, Russian and English literature, but wrote his poetry solely in German. Among his major poems is Death Fugue that evokes the horrors of the Holocaust.

Glottal Stop: 101 Poems by Paul Celan

Wesleyan University Press
2001 Winner
United States

Judges’ Citation

Paul Celan is arguably the most important European poet of the twentieth century, but much of his work has seemed too hermetic, linguistically complex, and bound to his struggle with the German language in the aftermath of the Shoah to be translatable.

Paul Celan is arguably the most important European poet of the twentieth century, but much of his work has seemed too hermetic, linguistically complex, and bound to his struggle with the German language in the aftermath of the Shoah to be translatable. In Glottal Stop, however, Nikolai Popov and Heather McHugh have achieved the seemingly impossible: more than translating Celan into English, they have found a way to translate English into Celan.