Last winter, Argentinian born poet and art historian Luciana Erregue-Sacchi invited two writers – myself and the fabulous Nermeen Youssef – to join her on a quest, to encounter, perform and respond to Paul Célan’s masterpiece, the Todesfuge/Death Tango.
Over the course of an incredible night, we shared our hearts and minds, resonating like bells to the music of Célan’s words, and to the ways they fit for us, each from a different part of the world, a different pocket of history, a different language root.
It was the sort of collaboration I love best – riffing off each other’s thoughts, seizing sparks of inspiration, spinning on a dime in a new direction as we discovered and invented the ways to dance together, in English, Spanish and German, through Célan’s tango.
And then we added our own responses, drawn from our particular histories, our eyes on this moment in time. Julie Robinson, who ran Borderlines, the writers’ program that brought us together, was tasked with editing our epic into a podcast.
Here it is. Todesfuge for 3 Voices
Please take the time to comment on this piece, if you are so moved; programs like Borderlines, which brings together Immigrant and Exiled writers with established locals, rely on arts funding that in turn relies on being able to show the impact each program has, beyond what we ourselves will always treasure.