I shall assume that among its meanings is the assertion that something happened that makes poetry (a universal and millennial project) somehow untrue. To say so would assume truth-claims are implicit in the practice of poetry, that judgments about poetry have to do with judgments about the validity of such claims, and that the fact of Auschwitz makes those claims (e.g., claims about providence, or order, or justice in history- claims corresponding to closure and intelligibility in art) impossible to assert; or, simply, that the practice of the poetic art is complicit with barbarism in history...
In any case, I am assuming that something has happened in our time that can be said (must be said) to have changed the meaning and bearing of culturalpractices. I am also assuming that this something that has happened can be understood as new knowledge, an enlightenment, and by enlightenment I mean a recognition added by history to general conscious life that was not there before. This something that has happened bears upon human value, and therefore poetry, because poetry is away of promulgating human value (the value ofpersons). Poems are actions ofjudgment in the light or darkness of knowledge....
Sapere aude (literally, "Dare to be wise"), taken from Horace's Epodes, 1.2.40. Kant's translation of this phrase in his essay "An Answer to the Question: What Is Enlightenment?" is "Have courage to use your own understanding"-an expression associated with German response to the French Revolution .4 Audere.- to venture, to be bold, courageous. Sapere nude: to be courageous, in the light of one's "own" knowledge, against opposition. It is the modal opposite but moral equivalent (what Kant would call the "incongruous counterpart") to Blake's very Low Church response, as a poet, to a sudden conviction...
He stands for the difference of enlightenment in our time. Celan makes of his mother's tongue, not his own mother tongue, a poetic language - from the language of those who killed his mother. When he speaks of poetic language, he speaks of it as language (and this is the term I have centralized) now seen in context of a traumatically enlightened mind: language of the poetic kind precisely because it is wounded by reality and in search of reality- Wirklichkeitswund and Wirklichkeit suchend. The wound is on the body of the mother who has disappeared, and it is the body of his mother-her speaking...