The lecture brings Jewish, German-language poet Paul Celan into dialogue with Afro-German poet May Ayim and contemporary German-Jewish poet Max Czollek to consider how poetry in the wake of the Holocaust orients readers toward responsiveness to the past and responsibility in the present. Poetry, in its rhythms, sensory texture, and signifying structure is always a site where our usual patterns of perception can be altered. How can this formal resource of poetry be mobilized to alert readers to the return—or persistence—of past violence in their own present? How might poems make us see and perceive contemporary injustices otherwise? And what are the potentials and risks of such poetic relations between different times?
Simone Stirner received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley in 2020, following a B.A. and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, and has now joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University as Assistant Professor of German Studies.
The event is part of the German Studies: New Perspectives Seminar at the Mahindra Humanities Center.
Pre-registration is required. Register here.