An Unofficial Rilke: Poems 1912-1926

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Anvil Press Poetry, 1981 - Poetry - 117 pages
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Contents

Introduction
9
Pearls roll away
23
confront the heaven of my life
40
Copyright

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About the author (1981)

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.

Michael Hamburger was born on March 22, 1924 in Berlin, Germany. His family moved to the United Kingdom in 1933 as Adolf Hitler was coming to power. He attended Christ Church, Oxford, where he read modern languages (French and German). During World War II, he was drafted in the army as an infantryman. After the war, he held a series of teaching positions, initially in Germanic studies, on both sides of the Atlantic, including University College London, Reading University, Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, and the University of California at San Diego. He was the author of more than 20 volumes of poetry and many volumes of essays including Flowering Cactus, Collected Poems, and String of Beginnings. He was also a critic and translator of German works. He received numerous translation awards including the Schlegel-Tieck Prize, the Goethe Medal in 1986, and the European Translation Prize in 1990. He died on June 7, 2007 at the age of 83.

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