Two new books by NPF alumni have come to our attention: Elizabeth Willis’s newest collection of poetry and Pierre Joris’s translation of the critical edition of Paul Celan’s Meridian address. Details below!

Elizabeth Willis, Address

(Wesleyan University Press, 2011)

• Willis has shared her poetry in the New Writing Series and presented her scholarship in the pages of Sagetrieb and at our Forties and Sixties Conferences. This new collection follows Meteoric Flowers (2006), also brought out by Wesleyan.

• From the publisher: “Address draws us into visible and invisible architectures, into acts of intimate and public address. These poems are concentrated, polyvocal, and sharply attentive to acts of representation. They take personally their politics and in the process reveal something about the way civic structures inhabit the imagination. Poisonous plants, witches, anthems, bees: beneath their surface, we glimpse the fragility of our founding, republican aspirations and witness a disintegrating landscape artfully transformed. If a poem can serve as a kind of astrolabe, measuring distances both cosmic and immediate, temporal and physical, it does so by imaginative, nonlinear means. Here, past and present engage in acts of mutual interrogation and critique, and within this dynamic Willis’s poetry is at once complexly authoritative and searching: “so begins our legislation.'”

• The publisher’s page has a table of contents and sample poem.

• More on Willis at the EPC and Pennsound.

Paul Celan, The Meridian: Final Version — Drafts — Materials

Ed. Bernhard Böschenstein and Heino Schmull
Tr. Pierre Joris
(Stanford University Press, 2011)

• Joris read in the New Writing Series in 2006 and will be returning in the Fall.

• From the publisher: “Originally presented as a speech to the German Academy for Language and Poetry on the occasion of Celan’s acceptance of the Georg Büchner prize for literature, The Meridian is one of, if not the most important poetological statement of the second half of the twentieth century. Much more than a personal statement or occasional piece, it is a meditation on the state of poetry and art in general and a rigorous attempt to account for what poetry is, can, and must be after the Holocaust. This definitive historico-critical edition, available for the first time in English, presents not only the first drafts, but also a vast array of notes and preparatory work and a brief essay on Osip Mandelstam, all of which work to expand the field of reference of Celan’s manifesto and reveal its true scope. Rich commentaries clarify Celan’s notes to authors as diverse as Leibniz, Scheler, Kafka, Hofmannsthal, Husserl, Pascal, Valéry, Heidegger, and others.”

• Download excerpts from The Meridian over at Jacket magazine.

• More on Joris at the EPC and Pennsound.