Winner of The Pen USA Award for translation
Selected Poems of Friedrich Holderlinby Friedrich Holderlin
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
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.
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.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Omnidawn Publishing
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Meet the Author
MAXINE CHERNOFF is the author of six books of fiction and fourteen books of poems, most recently HERE (Counterpath, 2014), WITHOUT (Shearsman Books, 2012) and TO BE READ IN THE DARK (Omnidawn Publishing, 2011). She is the recipient of a 2013 NEA Fellowship in Poetry and, with Paul Hoover, for their translation of Friedrich Holderlin, the 2009 PEN USA Translation Award. She is the editor of the journal NEW AMERICAN WRITING and chair of the creative writing department at San Francisco State University.
PAUL HOOVER is the author of eleven books of poetry. He is the editor of the anthology Postmodern American Poetry (W. W. Norton, 1994) and, with Maxine Chernoff, the annual literary magazine NEW AMERICAN WRITING. His collection of literary essays, Fables of Representation, was published in the Poets on Poetry series of University of Michigan Press in 2004. He teaches at San Francisco State University.
JOHANN CHRISTIAN FRIEDRICH HÖLDERLIN (20 March 1770—6 June 1843) was a major German lyric poet. His work bridges the Classical and Romantic schools. Having spent most of his life tormented by mental illness, he suffered great loneliness, and often spent his time playing the piano, drawing, reading, writing, and enjoyed traveling when he had the chance.
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