The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke

Front Cover
Vintage Books, Mar 13, 1989 - Poetry - 356 pages
126 Reviews
The influence and popularity of Rilke's poetry in America have never been greater than they are today, more than fifty years after his death. Rilke is unquestionably the most significant and compelling poet of romantic transformation, of spiritual quest, that the twentieth century has known. His poems of ecstatic identification with the world exert a seemingly endless fascination for contemporary readers. In Stephen Mitchell's versions, many readers feel that they have discovered an English rendering that captures the lyric intensity, fluency, and reach of Rilke's poetry more accurately and convincingly than has ever been done before. Mr. Mitchell is impeccable in his adherence to Rilke's text, to his formal music, and to the complexity of his thought; at the same time, his work has authority and power as poetry in its own right. Few translators of any poet have arrived at the delicate balance of fidelity and originality that Mr. Mitchell has brought off with seeming effortlessness. The generous and unusual selection that the translator has made from Rilke's large body of work has been praised by scholars for the judicious picture it offers of the breadth and depth of Rilke's greatness. The German text is printed facing the translations, and the poems have been extensively annotated with relevant quotations from Rilke's correspondence and other essential information. Noted poet and critic Robert Hass's searching introduction, "Looking for Rilke," discusses the span of Rilke's career and his importance for the American poetic tradition.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
88
4 stars
25
3 stars
12
2 stars
1
1 star
0

A great introduction to an excellent poet. - Goodreads
This is a nice selection. - Goodreads
The pacing is perfect. - Goodreads
Best advice I found was to read it literal. - Goodreads
Great selection of works. - Goodreads
Another reviewer called his writing "vaporous." - Goodreads

Review: The Selected Poetry

User Review  - Alex Obrigewitsch - Goodreads

A great introduction to an excellent poet. Read full review

Review: The Selected Poetry

User Review  - Evelina - Goodreads

Truly amazing read. And the translation is great. I loved the use of peculiar syntax, imagery, symbolism and poet's personal philosophy. His elegies and solitude motifs really leave a deep mark on the reader. I fully recommend this book. Read full review

Contents

Section 1
4
Section 2
93
Section 3
95

18 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

Randall Jarrell and His Age
Stephen Burt
No preview available - 2005
All Book Search results »

About the author (1989)

More than any other modern German writer, Rainer Maria Rilke seems to match our romantic idea of what a poet should be, though, as with many writers, separating artistry from affectation is often difficult. Restless, sensitive, reverent, yet egotistical, Rilke often seems to hover in his poems like a sort of ethereal being. He was born in 1875 to a wealthy family in Prague. After a few years devoted to the study of art and literature, he spent most of his adult life wandering among the European capitals and devoting himself single-mindedly to poetry. His early poems reflect his interest in the visual and plastic arts, as he tries to lose himself in contemplation of objects such as an antique torso of Apollo.His later books of poetry, such as Duino Elegies (1923) and Sonnets to Orpheus (1923), on the contrary, focus intently on internal realms. The poetry of Rilke is noted, above all, for metaphysical and psychological nuances.

Poet and writer Stephen Mitchell attended Amherst College, the Sorbonne, and Yale University. He has been training in Zen mediation for more than 25 years. His book, Real Power, uses ancient wisdom to study power, the key to business. Mitchell also translated the Tao Te Ching.

Bibliographic information