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Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
     

Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

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by Rainer Maria Rilke, Anita Barrows (Translator), Joanna Macy (Translator)
 

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A FINALIST FOR THE PEN/WEST TRANSLATION AWARD

The 100th Anniversary Edition of a global classic, containing beautiful translations along with the original German text.

While visiting Russia in his twenties, Rainer Maria Rilke, one of the twentieth century's greatest poets, was moved by a spirituality he encountered there. Inspired, Rilke returned to

Overview

A FINALIST FOR THE PEN/WEST TRANSLATION AWARD

The 100th Anniversary Edition of a global classic, containing beautiful translations along with the original German text.

While visiting Russia in his twenties, Rainer Maria Rilke, one of the twentieth century's greatest poets, was moved by a spirituality he encountered there. Inspired, Rilke returned to Germany and put down on paper what he felt were spontaneously received prayers. Rilke's Book of Hours is the invigorating vision of spiritual practice for the secular world, and a work that seems remarkably prescient today, one hundred years after it was written.

Rilke's Book of Hours shares with the reader a new kind of intimacy with God, or the divine—a reciprocal relationship between the divine and the ordinary in which God needs us as much as we need God. Rilke influenced generations of writers with his Letters to a Young Poet, and now Rilke's Book of Hours tells us that our role in the world is to love it and thereby love God into being. These fresh translations rendered by Joanna Macy, a mystic and spiritual teacher, and Anita Barrows, a skilled poet, capture Rilke's spirit as no one has done before.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The German poet Rilke wrote his Book of Hours (Das Stundenbuch) between 1899, when he was 23 years old, and 1903. The poems, sacred and intimate and not intended for the public, "came to him" in a highly inspirational way-he described it as "inner dictation"-following a visit to a monastery in Russia, where he was deeply moved by the practice of praying several times daily following a "book of hours." Barrows and Macy, accomplished poets who were born into the Judeo-Christian tradition but who have also embraced Buddhism, have carefully translated 80 of the 135 poems in the original Stundenbuch, culling some poems they felt to be weaker or less relevant to a late 20th-century reader and artfully reducing other poems to their essentials. Thus, this treasurable collection is a collaboration among three poets (or perhaps four, if one counts Rilke's insistence on the contribution of the divine!). Here is just one of many stunning moments in the extensively annotated and thoroughly prefaced collection: "All becoming has needed me./ My looking ripens things/ and they come toward me, to meet and be met." And, striking a contemporary chord: "I am living just as the century ends./ A great leaf, that God and you and I/ have covered with writing/ turns now, overhead, in strange hands." Highly recommended.-Judy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward
From the Publisher
"These poems of spiritual yearning and discovery composed by the young Rilke one hundred years ago feel very fresh and moving in the beautifully transparent, supple versions of Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy. With their psalm-like directness and emotional urgencyk, they nourish and quicken the life of the spirit." --Chana Bloch, translator of The Song of Songs

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781573220330
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/05/1996
Pages:
166
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.64(h) x 0.73(d)

Meet the Author

Anita Barrows, a prize-winning poet and a clinical psychologist, is the author of four books of her own poetry and the recipient of an NEA grant as well as the Quarterly Review of Literature's Contemporary Poetry Award. She has been a professional translator for more than thirty years.

Joanna Macy is a scholar of systems theory and Buddhist thought, and a student of German. Also a spiritual teacher and ecologist, she has spoken at the White House about ecology and spirituality.

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Rilke's book of hours: love poems to god 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is absolutely gorgeous poetry and inspiring to read. The words flow remarkably, in spite of translation, and Rilke has a way of making the words move your heart.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Haplessly, this publication is an affront to the venerable legacy of Rilke. A myriad poems have been truncated, or superfluously emended, simply because Rilke's poetry smacks of piety that might corrupt twenty-century readers? This is not the voice of Rilke.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has been my introduction to Rainer Maria Rilke. The poems (addressed to God) and their translations are wonderful, and the prefatory matter adds to their impact. The facing-page bilingual format makes the paper version easier to read than the e-book.
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