Prayers of a Young Poet

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Overview

Rilke wrote these poems in 1899 after returning to Germany from his first trip to Russia, calling them simply “the prayers.”  They reflect the intensity of his experience of the East, voicing his fascination with Orthodox churches and monasteries.  The icons, so different than the religious art he encountered on an earlier trip to Italy, seemed to him like flames glowing in dark spaces.  These luminous prayers gesture as verbal icons, their images illumining a way in the darkness for seekers of the...

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Overview

Rilke wrote these poems in 1899 after returning to Germany from his first trip to Russia, calling them simply “the prayers.”  They reflect the intensity of his experience of the East, voicing his fascination with Orthodox churches and monasteries.  The icons, so different than the religious art he encountered on an earlier trip to Italy, seemed to him like flames glowing in dark spaces.  These luminous prayers gesture as verbal icons, their images illumining a way in the darkness for seekers of the sacred.  As he here writes:

 

I love the dark hours of my being,

                for they deepen my senses .  .  .

                From them I’ve come to know that I have room

for a second life, timeless and wide.

 

“How perfect that Mark Burrows is as fine a scholar as he is a poet. His understanding of ‘the young poet’ is subtle and rare; his knowledge of Rilke’s language and intentions is rich and deep. It is incredible that it’s taken so long to have these prayers in a single song as they were intended, but every line in this exquisite collection rewards the wait.”

                —Dr. Stephanie Dowrick, author of Seeking the Sacred and In the Company of Rilke

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781612610764
  • Publisher: Paraclete Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 1,366,734
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark S. Burrows is a scholar of medieval Christianity with particular interests in mysticism and poetry.  During the last quarter century he taught in several graduate schools of theology in the United States and Germany, and is widely acknowledged for his work in spirituality and the arts.  The author of many scholarly works exploring Christianity from Late Antiquity to the dawn of modernity, he currently serves as poetry editor for the journal Spiritus.  This is his first volume of modern German translation.  He lives in New Mexico and Germany.

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