Dialogue about Paul Celan. Olga Sedakova and Alexey Retinsky

How do words and music meet in the works of Paul Celan? What do modern readers and artists find in the strikingly complex and succinct texts born at the cutting edge of the 20th century tragedies?

These and other topics are covered in a talk of the composer and Dom Radio resident Alexey Retinsky with Olga Sedakova, a writer, philologist, and leading translator of Celan’s poetry.

We share a recording of the online conversation dedicated to the centenary of one of the greatest German-language poets of the last century, held in November 2020 as part of the Modern Audience Laboratory and the residence of Alexey Retinsky at Dom Radio.

Topics of conversation

00:00 Alexey Retinsky on Paul Celan’s poetry, self-valuable and musical
03:14 Olga Sedakova on her first meeting with Celan’s poems
07:25 Keys to translation and musical form. Overcoming time
17:10 Directness and layers. Poetry as an outstretched hand
21:25 Silence between the lines and “verbality” in Celan
26:50 The poet’s connection with his epoch: a difficult life and creative influences
35:40 “I am a Russian poet”
44:10 Mandorla: complex simplicity



Alexey Retinsky, Olga Sedakova