World-space in pure continuous interchange
with my own being. Equipose
in which I rhythmically transpire.
Written only four years before Rilke's death, this sequence of sonnets, varied in form yet consistently structured, stands as the poet's final masterwork. In these meditations on the constant flux of our world and the ephemerality of experience, Rilke envisions death not only as one among many of life's transformations but also as an ideally receptive state of being. Because Orpheus has visited the realm of death and returned to the living, his lyre, a unifying presence in these poems, is an emblem of fluidity and musical transcendence. And Eurydice, condemned to Hades as a result of Orpheus's backward glance, becomes in Rilke's universe a mythical figure of consolation and hope.
Edward Snow, in his translations of New Poems, The Book of Images, Uncollected Poems, and Duino Elegies, has emerged as Rilke's most able English-language interpreter. Adhering faithfully to the intent of Rilke's German while constructing nuanced, colloquial poems in English, Snow's Sonnets to Orpheus should serve as the authoritative translation for years to come.
orders? and even if one of them pressed me
suddenly to his heart: I'd be consumed
in that overwhelming existence. For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror, which we can just barely endure,
and we stand in awe of it as it coolly disdains
to destroy us. Every angel is terrifying.
-from "The First Elegy"
Over the last fifteen years, in his two volumes of New Poems as well as in The Book of Images and Uncollected Poems, Edward Snow has emerged as one of Rainer Maria Rilke's most able English-language interpreters. In his translations, Snow adheres faithfully to the intent of Rilke's German while constructing nuanced, colloquial poems in English.
Written in a period of spiritual crisis between 1912 and 1922, the poems that compose the Duino Elegies are the ones most frequently identified with the Rilkean sensibility. With their symbolic landscapes, prophetic proclamations, and unsettling intensity, these complex and haunting poems rank among the outstanding visionary works of the century.
In his powerful new translation, skilfully shaped into current English, Ian Crockatt succeeds in catching Rilke's blend of crafted sensuality and inward-focused spiritual searching, while his comprehensive introduction and notes to this selection are both informative and enlightening.
Rainer Maria Rilke was described by another great poet, Maria Tsvetaeva as 'not a poet, but the embodiment of poetry'. His work spans the divide between Europe's turn-of-the-century decadence and its post First World War revolutionary modernism, always struggling to develop, to seek and reach beyond itself.
Combining passion and sensitivity, the poems on love presented here are often not only sensual but sexual as well. Others pursue perennial themes in his work—death and life, growth and transformation. The book concludes with Rilke's reflections on wisdom and openness to experience, on grasping what is most difficult and turning what is most alien into that which we can most trust.
Like the poems in the first volume, these are presentations of objects, "thing-poems" (Dinggedichte). In 1902 Rilke left Germany for Paris where he acted as the secretary to the sculptor Auguste Rodin. Rodin's craftsman-like approach, his steady discipline, and his relentless productivity inspired in Rilke a new poetic method: he, too would be a craftsman meticulously appropriating the world about him for his poetic vision. "Somehow," he wrote, "I too must come to make things; not plastic, but written things--realities that emerge from handiwork. Somehow I too must discover the smallest basic element, the cell of my art, the tangible immaterial means of representation for everything."
Until this volume, Rilke's voice had come from the interior, expressing feelings and moods. Though always celebrated for his mastery of word-sound, rhythm, meter, and rhyme, Rilke had written poetry often married by sentimentality and insularity. NEW POEMS represented a turning point, an intoxication from the materiality of the world.
NEW POEMS, 1908 contains such famous works as "Archaic Torso of Apollo," "Corpse Washing," "Buddha in Glory," and "Late Autumn in Venice." Rilke takes familiar figures--from a sundial to a stained-glass Adam and Eve--and refracts their presence into corporeality and spirituality. Rilke peers behind sculptural surfaces to the implicit desire or pain in the objects of our environment.
Malte Laurids Brigge is a young Danish nobleman and poet living in Paris. Obsessed with death and with the reality that lurks behind appearances, Brigge muses on his family and their history and on the teeming, alien life of the city. Many of the themes and images that occur in Rilke's poetry can also be found in the novel, prefiguring the modernist movement in its self-awareness and imagistic immediacy.
A hugely influential collection for writers and artists of all kinds, Rilke's profound and lyrical letters to a young friend advise on writing, love, sex, suffering and the nature of advice itself.
One of 46 new books in the bestselling Little Black Classics series, to celebrate the first ever Penguin Classic in 1946. Each book gives readers a taste of the Classics' huge range and diversity, with works from around the world and across the centuries - including fables, decadence, heartbreak, tall tales, satire, ghosts, battles and elephants.
Born in 1875, the great German lyric poet Rainer Maria Rilke published his first collection of poems in 1898 and went on to become renowned for his delicate depiction of the workings of the human heart. Drawn by some sympathetic note in his poems, young people often wrote to Rilke with their problems and hopes. From 1903 to 1908 Rilke wrote a series of remarkable responses to a young, would-be poet on poetry and on surviving as a sensitive observer in a harsh world. Those letters, still a fresh source of inspiration and insight, are accompanied here by a chronicle of Rilke's life that shows what he was experiencing in his own relationship to life and work when he wrote them.