Li’s Song Lin at PEN

The PEN website has published new translations of the poetry of Song Lin 宋琳 by 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant-winning translator Dong Li 李栋, as well as his essay, “The World Migrating: On Translating Song Lin.”

Paul Celan by the Seine

This unavoidable speechlessness: alone, in a foreign land. Alas, “winter warms us.” This impossible supineness: a dead man floats over the Seine.
Paul Celan drinks the Seine to his heart’s content. The more he drinks, the thirstier he becomes. From partial darkness to the full: he drinks away the root of the last word.
The purest go for death the earliest. Resistance off the map—you, glorious deserter, abandoned the concentration camp, the youth, the laughable Nazis. You returned all the shame to the Jews and they wandered still, were beaten and sought salvation.
Afloat, from the Seine to Jordan, from Paris to Jerusalem. Paul Celan drinks with his eyes, drinks in his own inventive ways. Alone, he drinks the two rivers from heaven and hell.
His eyes open in our eyes. “When God asks me to drink,” he says.

Click the image above for the full suite.