Alain Veinstein: Even a Child


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A poem cannot stop death, even a child’s, cannot home in on silence. But here the very language burrows into the earth, literally and obsessively, tries to come to grips with birth and death, with the all too fragile, vulnerable body. Veinstein’s haunting elegies and meditations try to stop time, to encircle the impossible space between not yet and already no more.

Alain Veinstein was born in 1942. He created the famous series “Les nuits magnétiques” for radio France-Culture. Available in English: From a Reader’s Notebook (Annex, 1984) and Archeology of the Mother (Serie d’Ecriture #1, 1986), and single poems in The Random House Book of Twentieth Century French Poetry, ed. Paul Auster, 1982.

“The work as a whole takes on almost the quality of an elegy to a failed life, a life that cannot be relived or remade with or without language. But, obviously, that is the condition of not only the poet, but of each of our stories, stories that we live but can never understand.”

–Douglas Messerli, Mr. Knife, Miss Fork