Celan in NW6

Although Paul Celan is my favourite poet, I was somehow unaware of his poem, “Mapesbury Road”, which refers to a street that is about five minutes from where I live in north-west London and was written in 1968 immediately after the death of Martin Luther King and the attempted assassination of West German student leader […]


Letters to Diet

There is currently an exhibition in Holland about the love affair between the poet Paul Celan and Diet Kloos, a Dutch woman who had been a member of the resistance during World War II. I’ve written before about Celan – one of the most important figures in post-war German literature. However, until now I didn’t know much about […]

Random thoughts on the German language

Favourite word: generalstabsmäßig – General Staff-like, as in with military precision Weirdest phrase: ein inner Reichsparteitag – an inner Nuremberg rally, as in a private celebration of the triumph of the will Most useful word that doesn’t exist in English: Auseinandersetzung Most evocative word: Mandel – see Paul Celan Nicest-sounding word: Schmetterling – butterfly Most […]