Written Asunder

Karl Ove Knausgaard, “Handke and Singularity,” Archipelago Books 24 September 2014

Therein lies the merit of the poem [Paul Celan’s The Straightening], the fact that it cannot be referred to other than by quoting it, cannot be retold, cannot be used for something secondary, and points to nothing other than to itself; in other words, it is singular, primary, the thing-in-itself, as a stone on the ground is singular, primary, the thing-in-itself. That is to say as close to the singular and the primary and the thing-in-itself as a language can come, because even in a language which persistently negates itself, representation is of course unavoidable. Where it reads ‘Grass, written asunder,’ I imagine, in all its simplicity, the grass that grows on the lawn in the dark outside the window by which I sit and write, and by ‘written asunder’ I understand a form of violence which perhaps — or perhaps not — has something to do with the way in which it is seen or represented.

[From an essay presented by Knausgaard at the Skien International Ibsen Conference, 22 (?) September 2014.]

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