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Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God by…
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Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

by Rainer Maria Rilke

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First of all, I have to clarify: I'm not a student of the English language or poetry, so my feelings for these poems, like most of us, are truly from my personal perspective. From the those poems that we all had to read in school, and the few that I occasional encounter here or there, I have never been affected as deeply as the writing of Rainer Maria Rilke. Since Rilke wrote in German, it's a wonder how English translations of his works still affect me so deeply and effortlessly.

This edition celebrates the 100th anniversary of the release of this 135 poems by Rilke to the public, by the Insel Verlag of Leipzig. These poems Rilke viewed as private and as intimate as his prayers to God, and they also represent his true poetic legacy. That was why they were not originally released to the public. Rilke was only 23 years old when he started writing the poems in this collection. He had already published three volumes of other poems prior. Although I do not know German, the translation of these poems by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy appeared and sounded perfect to me when I read each and all poems over and over again. Someday I'll read another translation of the same title to compare the accuracy and wording but at the mean time, this is truly a 5-star book. Also, do not let the title deter you...These poems do have the same resonance on your heart and soul whether if you are religious or not.

"You, my own deep soul,
trust me. I will not betray you.
My blood is alive with many voices
telling me I am made of longing.

What mystery breaks over me now?
In its shadow I come into life.
For the first time I am alone with you-

You, my power to feel."


( )
  lovestampmom | Aug 8, 2013 |
Absolutely beautiful collection! Includes the original German as well as Barrows/Macy's unique and lovely English translations. My only "complaint" is that it doesn't include all of the poems (though most are there). The commentaries at the beginning and end discuss how the translations came about and other translator decisions. Inspiring collection! ( )
  LucindaLibri | Apr 11, 2013 |
Love ripens us whether we are walking the paths of human loves or the paths that include the love of the divine. This set of poems has become a classic to readers among both the religious and the non-religious who would open their hearts to embrace the unknown gifts of life and love's ripening. I personally find this translation wonderful. I don't speak or read German so I can't say that this translation is a more accurate one or not. What I can say is that among the several different translations I own, this one engages my heart in ways the others did not. ( )
  ahuntca | May 1, 2009 |
This book has Rilke's original German poems on the left hand page, and Babette Deutsch's translations on the right. The main problem is that the translations are not very good. They are too ornate, and include words and phrases which are not included in Rilke's orginal.
  paulb | Dec 11, 2006 |
Words can't convey the passion and intensity of these poems. They have to be experienced. I would recommend them to everyone, whether or not you agree with his philosophy. This work is seamless. ( )
  lorsomething | Jul 26, 2006 |
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Gelegt in die Hände von Lou
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Die Religion ist die Kunst der Nichtschaffenden.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0810118882, Paperback)

A bilingual edition of a seminal work by the greatest German poet of the twentieth century.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:35 -0400)

At the beginning of this century, a young German poet returned from a journey to Russia, where he had immersed himself in the spirituality he discovered there. He "received" a series of poems about which he did not speak for a long time - he considered them sacred, and different from anything else he ever had done and ever would do again. This poet saw the coming darkness of the century, and saw the struggle we would have in our relationship to the divine. The poet was Rainer Maria Rilke, and these love poems to God make up his Book of Hours.… (more)

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