In Praise of Mortality: Selections from Rainer Maria Rilke's Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus

In Praise of Mortality: Selections from Rainer Maria Rilke's Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus




A new translation of Rainer Maria Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus and Duino Elegies, widely regarded as the masterpieces of one of the twentieth century's greatest poets.

Loved for its accessibility, timeless relevance, and musical language, Rilke's poetry is among the finest lyrical verse of the past century. In February 1922, after a decade of writer's block, Rilke created almost this entire body of work. The Sonnets, written that month, are imbued with the poet's deep reverence for nature. He laments the industrial age, which deprives us of time, imagination, and community and gives us an illusion of control over our mortality. And the Elegies, begun some ten years earlier during a visit to Duino Castle on the Adriatic, are meditations on our impermanence, which Rilke embraced as our link to all life and all time.

The Sonnets and Elegies were written simultaneously, so Barrows and Macy present their translations together, alongside the original German verse; the reading of one enriches and informs the reading of the other. Barrows, a prize-winning poet, and Macy, a well-known spiritual teacher, bring a remarkable combination of perspective and talent to capture Rilke's spirit in a new way. Rilke believed in the coexistence of the material and spiritual realms, and the glory of this poetry reflects the soul of an artist who would be our bridge between the two.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781573223034
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication date: 03/17/2005
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 5.75(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Anita Barrows, a scholar of German poetry, is the author of two volumes of her own poetry. She is the recipient of an NEA grant and the Contemporary Poetry Award from the Quarterly Review of Literature. Joanna Macy is a scholar of systems theory and Buddhist thought, and a student of German. Also a spiritual teacher and ecologist, she has spoken at the White House about ecology and spirituality. Together Barrows and Macy are the translators of Rilke's Book of Hours.

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