Michael's Reviews > Poems

Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke
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Apr 19, 2012

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bookshelves: literary-studies, poetry, german
Recommended to Michael by: serendipity
Recommended for: German students, poetry students, poets
Read from May 16 to June 19, 2011 , read count: 1

This is sort of an unusual item: a small book of German poetry with extensive editorial comments and notes in English. Depending on your reading ability in either language, this could be a good or a bad thing. I would say that it is probably most useful for reasonably advanced students of German with some interest in either Rilke or German poetry in general, who wish a basic introduction to his work.
Rilke is probably one of the least translatable of poets, so it is a good thing to see his work in its original language. Themes of the poems range from classical tales of Orpheus and Ledo to ordinary objects like a carousel. I particularly enjoy the "dinggedichte in which he describes some common thing with an artist's view to the essential facts, using words like a paintbrush. The discussion of his work by G.W. McKay is informed and intelligent, but probably debatable in places - it may be better for more advanced students of German literature to read the poems on their own, and form their own ideas. For less advanced students, his comments will sometimes shed light on the more obscure terminology Rilke uses.
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