The Essential Rilke
by Galway Kinnell, Hannah Liebmann
ISBN 0060956542 (0-06-095654-2)
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Softcover, Ecco, 2000
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German poet Rainer Maria Rilke(1875-1926) enjoys ever-increasing popularity. His Duino Elegies is considered on of the greatest long poems of the twentieth century. Yet translations from his native German have always presented challenges: the elusiveness of Rilke's imagery, the playful way he both distorts and subverts his own language, and the depth and complexity of his poetry make it difficult for translators to preserve the beauty and meaning of the original text. In his stunning bilingual selection that includes the entire Duino Elegies as well as a number of favorite and less familiar shorter poems, Galway Kinnell and Hannah Liebmann manage to retain power and grace of Rilke's words. Throughout his poetry, Rilke addresses questions of how to live in and relate to a world in a voice that is simultaneoulsy prophetic and intensely personel. These translations offer new insight into this enigmatic German poet whose work will continue to be read and admired throughout the world.
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