Between Two Infinities, The Poem


“From the heart of its solitude and across [a travers] its immediate illegibility, the poem can always speak–itself of itself. Here in transparent fashion, and there resorting to esoteric tropes that require an initiation and a reading technique. This self-reference always remains an appeal (Anspruch) to the other, be it to the other inaccessible in itself. This self-reference in no way suspends the reference to the inappropriable.

Even where the poem names illegibility, its proper illegibility, it also declares the illegibility of the world. Another poem of Celan’s thus begins: ‘Unlesbarkeit dieser / Welt. Alles doppelt.’ And scarcely further on, one hesitates to identify the ‘you’ whom this poem apostrophizes: no matter who, more than one, the poem itself, the poet, the reader, the abyssal profundity of this or that other singularity forever encrypted, any or an entirely other, God, you or me (’Du, in den Tiefstes geklemmt …’).”

–from Between Two Infinities, The Poem by Jacques Derrida (trans. Thomas Dutoit and Philippe Romanski)


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