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Selected Poems

Overview

Further solidifying Hölderlin’s place in history, this thorough collection of poetry ranges from the odes of his developmental period to the majestic hymns and strangely prophetic modern compositions created in his later years. Considered one of the founders of European romanticism, Hölderlin had a mere 10 years to develop his distinctive style before falling prey to a debilitating mental illness, whose resultant works are the heartbreakingly sweet and melancholy pieces of the Späteste Gedichte (Last Poems). Each...

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Overview

Further solidifying Hölderlin’s place in history, this thorough collection of poetry ranges from the odes of his developmental period to the majestic hymns and strangely prophetic modern compositions created in his later years. Considered one of the founders of European romanticism, Hölderlin had a mere 10 years to develop his distinctive style before falling prey to a debilitating mental illness, whose resultant works are the heartbreakingly sweet and melancholy pieces of the Späteste Gedichte (Last Poems). Each poem is presented in both its original German and a new English translation, while an illuminating introduction explores Hölderlin’s significance in the realm of literature as well as the tumultuous world in which he lived.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Sublime visionary, great religious poet attracted to pagan myth and German poet of world-historical importance, Hölderlin (1770-1843) at the turn of the 19th century made his mark with Greek-inspired odes, intensely heterodox (and often never completed) hymns to imagined gods and real European places, and elegies on love. All these great works came about before 1807, when the tormented writer suffered a mental breakdown. Despite his importance to subsequent German poets (Rilke) and philosophers (Heidegger), and despite careful translations, Hölderlin has never enjoyed the U.S. following attracted by (for example) the author of The Duino Elegies. That may change with this ample yet sensitive facing-page version. Husband and wife team Chernoff and Hoover-both are experimental poets, fiction writers and editors-do best with the strangest (most clearly "modern") stanzas and pieces of unfinished hymns, but also give fine attention to the earlier, more elegant works and to the naïve rhyming poetry of Hölderlin's last years. Here is the Hölderlin who praised "The Poet's Courage," asking, "Isn't everything alive already in your blood?" Here too is the poet for whom modern life is at once opportunity and abyss: "I approached to see the gods," he wrote, "[a]nd they themselves threw me down beneath the living." (Sept.)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781852243784
  • Publisher: Bloodaxe Books
  • Publication date: 12/31/1996
  • Series: Religious Poet Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Friedrich Hölderlin was a major German lyric poet of the 18th century. Maxine Chernoff is the author of several books of poetry and fiction—including American Heaven, Among the Names, and Signs of Devotion—and the coeditor of New American Writing. She is the chair of the creative writing department at San Francisco State University. Paul Hoover is the author of 11 poetry collections, including Edge and Fold and Poems in Spanish. He is the editor of Postmodern American Poetry and the coeditor of New American Writing. He is a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University and curates the First Friday Poetry series at the de Young Museum of San Francisco. They both live in San Francisco.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 7
'When I was a boy' 13
To Diotima 14
Diotima 15
Plea for Forgiveness 16
'Once there were gods' 17
Parting 18
'Another day' 19
'The sun goes down' 20
To the Sun God 21
To the Fates 22
Fate. Hyperion's Song 23
That which is mine 24
The Gods 26
Sung under the Alps 27
The Archipelago 28
Bread and Wine 36
Homecoming 41
The Journey 44
The Rhine 48
Patmos 54
Remembrance 60
The Ister 62
Mnemosyne 64
Tears 66
Ganymede 67
Chiron 68
To Hope 70
Ages of Life 71
Half of Life 72
'As birds slowly pass over' 73
'As upon seacoasts' 74
Home 75
'For when the juice of the vine' 76
'On pale leaves' 77
'When over the vineyard' 78
The Eagle 79
'Where we began' 80
'Severed and at a distance now' 81
'When out of heaven' 83
Spring ('When new joy quickens') 84
A Happy Life 85
The Walk 87
'Not all days' 88
Spring ('How blessed to see again') 89
Autumn 90
Spring ('The new day comes down') 91
View 91
Concerning the Dolphin 92
From Sophocles' Ajax 93
From Sophocles' Antigone 96
From Sophocles' Oedipus the King 99
'In a lovely blue' 103
Notes 105
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