Poems from the Book of Hours

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Overview

A beautiful bilingual gift book of poems: selections from Rilke’s legendary masterpiece, The Book of Hours, with a new introduction by Ursula K. Le Guin.
Rilke’s Book of Hours falls into three parts: The Book of Monkish Life (1899), The Book of Pilgrimage (1901), and The Book of Poverty and Death (1903). Although these poems were the work of Rilke’s youth, they contain the germ of his mature convictions. Written as spontaneously received prayers, they celebrate a God who is not ...

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Overview

A beautiful bilingual gift book of poems: selections from Rilke’s legendary masterpiece, The Book of Hours, with a new introduction by Ursula K. Le Guin.
Rilke’s Book of Hours falls into three parts: The Book of Monkish Life (1899), The Book of Pilgrimage (1901), and The Book of Poverty and Death (1903). Although these poems were the work of Rilke’s youth, they contain the germ of his mature convictions. Written as spontaneously received prayers, they celebrate a God who is not the Creator of the Universe, but seems to be rather humanity itself, and, above all, that most intensely conscious part of humanity, the artist. This exquisite gift edition contains Babette Deutsch’s classic translations, which capture the rich harmony and suggestive imagery of the originals, allowing interpretations both religious and philosophical, and transporting the reader to new heights of inspiration and musicality.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
“One of the pillars of twentieth century poetry.”
Stephen Spender - The New York Review of Books
“If Rilke cut himself shaving, he would bleed poetry.”
Rika Lesser - The Nation
“Rilke remade the sturdy sonnet, recast the sonorous song. He quickened the German language itself.”
Clive James - Slate
“Poets in English continue to line up for the inevitable failure of translating his [Rilke’s] short lyrics. The best translations I have seen are from Babette Deutsch.”
David Shook - Molossus
“An important text in the best available translation, presented in an edition nearly as striking as its contents.”
Choice
“One of the pillars of twentieth century poetry.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811218535
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 11/24/2009
  • Series: New Directions Paperbook Series
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 55
  • Sales rank: 733,334
  • Product dimensions: 3.80 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) is considered one of the greatest poets who ever wrote in the German language. His most famous works are Sonnets to Orpheus, The Duino Elegies, Letters to a Young Poet, and The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

His collected work is comprised of hundreds of other poems, essays, plays, and stories.

Ursula K. Le Guin has written over fifty books of prose and poetry. Winner of many prizes including a National Book Award, she is perhaps best known for her six Books of Earthsea which have sold millions of copies and been translated into sixteen languages.

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Table of Contents

Preface 3
Now the hour bows down, it touches me, throbs 11
You, neighbor God, if sometimes in the night 13
If only there were stillness, full, complete 15
I read it in your word, and learn it from 17
I am, you anxious one. Do you not hear me 19
No, my life is not this precipitous hour 21
If I had grown up in a land where days 23
In all these things I cherish as a brother 27
We are all workmen: prentice, journeyman 29
What will you do, God, when I die? 31
The first word that you ever spoke was: light 33
The light shouts in your tree-top, and the face 35
Put out my eyes, and I can see you still 37
Although, as from a prison walled with hate 39
You are the future, the great sunrise red 41
The sovereigns of the world are old 43
All will grow great and powerful again 45
Already ripening barberries grow red 47
Do not be troubled, God, though they say "mine" 49
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