Rainer Maria Rilke, born on December 4, 1875, in Prague, was the greatest and best-loved European poet of the twentieth century. His major works include New Poems, Requiem (for Paula Modersohn-Becker), Duino Elegies, and The Sonnets to Orpheus, and, in prose, Letters to a Young Poet, Letters on Cezanne, and the novel The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. He settled in Switzerland after World War I and died there on December 29, 1926.
Damion Searls is the author of Everything You Say Is True, a travelogue, and What We Were Doing and Where We Were Going, stories (Dalkey Archive Press, 2009). He is also an award-winning translator from German, French, Norwegian, and Dutch, most recently of Marcel Proust's On Reading, and the editor of a one-volume abridgment of Thoreau's Journal. More information and excerpts are at www.damionsearls.com.