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Duino Elegies and The Sonnets to Orpheus
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Duino Elegies and The Sonnets to Orpheus

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,748 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Rilke is one of the most widely read poets of the 20th century. In his poetry, Rilke addresses the problems of death, God, and "destructive time," and attempts to overcome and transform these problems into an indestructive inner world.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 20th 2005 by Mariner Books (first published 1923)
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4.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,748 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Who's turned us around like this,
so that whatever we do, we always have
the look of someone going away? Just as a man
on the last hill showing him his whole valley
one last time, turns, and stops, and lingers -
so we live, and are forever leaving.


When was the last time you look at the stars? Feeling the bittersweet breeze of the night in your face. A face only illuminated by the distant light of the stars. Alone with your thoughts, feeling you can do anything. Go anywhere.
This book is an inv
Adam Floridia
I've never really liked poetry unless I'm teaching it because only then do I take the time to appreciate it. Yet, even without deep analysis so many poems can elicit immediate visceral responses to poignant imagery and intense emotion. For that reason, I've decided to make this Jameson's bedtime reading :-)

Different poems have different effects on his slumber:

Some cause him to think deeply


Others drive him into hiding


Some inspire a triumphant cheer


And others he just fucking hates


Finally, some are
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A pantera

De percorrer as grades o seu olhar cansou-se
e não retém mais nada lá no fundo,
como se a jaula de mil barras fosse
e além das barras não houvesse mundo.

O andar elástico dos passos fortes dentro
da ínfima espiral assim traçada
é uma dança da força em torno ao centro
de uma grande vontade atordoada.

Mas por vezes a cortina da pupila
ergue-se sem ruído — e uma imagem então
vai pelos membros em tensão tranquila
até desvanecer no coração."
Debbie Hu
May 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Yesterday our campus bookstore had a sale and so I went and bought books including this one. Then instead of doing math homework I laid in the grass and read Rilke out loud to myself for two hours. I didn't mind that my throat got dry after a while.
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It seems wrong to mark this as "read", as I don't think I will ever be done with it. There is infinity here.
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, mythology
A constant companion.

Rilke's verse has been attempted by many a translator (Edward Snow and Stephen Mitchell are favorites), but not one has truly approached the master himself. For the Greeks, the poet was a "maker" (poeites) who coaxed new creations out of language. Rilke does not merely create from language; he recreates language itself, bending the rigid German language into fluid shapes, startling sounds. For these final poems to the Angel and to Orpheus, Lorca's poem "Abajo" might serve as
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lonelier now, dependent on one another
utterly, though not knowing one another at all,
Does it really exist, Time, the Destroyer?
Are we really as fate keeps trying to convince us,
weak and brittle in an alien world?
Silent friend of many distances, […]
Let your presence ring out like a bell
into the night.
More than we experienced has gone by.
All is far - and nowhere does the circle close.
I dragged these Elegies with me for a long time, never really warming to them. As a collection they strike me as too disjointed. The centerpiece for me are the Eighth, Sixth and Seventh Elegies, in that particular order. The Eighth is a masterful poem in which Rilke articulates his worldview in a sober, almost didactic tone. We, human beings, are never able to get in touch with the Ding-an-sich, with what Rilke calls 'the Open'. From early on in life we wrap ourselves in inadequate intellectual ...more
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I need mindfulness training from Rilke.
Simon Robs
These works were channeled, born of the sea winds and castle rock, the words on reach to angels call; I choose to read them that way, too. They should be reread as many times at different times, and then maybe. So, no review just praise of a reader.
Jeffrey Bumiller
This is a beautiful book. I find it very surprising that this somewhat new (2009) book marks the first time these two works have been collected together, considering how strongly Rilke felt about them working in tandem. I find the story of the genesis of these poems almost as interesting as the poems themselves: Rilke's years of depression, his experience in WWI, the somewhat exotic location of their composition, all culminating in Rilke's "hurricane of the spirit" and the feverish completion of ...more
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I am neither a Rilke expert or German linguist but, from what little I know, Stephen Mitchell's translations here are exquisite. Rilke's poems are notoriously difficult to capture in other languages, and the Elegies and Sonnets are no exception. However, Mitchell not only takes each line into consideration, he also accounts for the whole of each piece. It is clear that his translations are thoughtful and intelligent, emotional and trustworthy. Within this, Rilke's poems themselves
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, classics
Rilke xoxoxo
Michael Baumgartner
Ich bin kein Freund der Duineser Elegien. Sie waren mir damals während des Studiums zu abgehoben.
Lucy Qhuay
Jan 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry, classics
I'm sorry. I really am. I really wanted to love this book, since I love poetry and I have read some excerpts of other works of Rainer Maria Rilke and I thought they were pretty interesting.
But I just couldn't bring myself to appreciate this one.

I consider myself an erudite/educate person, however you prefer to call it but I have to admit that I spent most of the time extremely confused.
I couldn't understand what was that the author wanted to transmit with the metaphors and chains of imagery he u
David Radavich
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rainer Maria Rilke is one of my all-time favorite poets - an artist of stunningly original gifts. I always read his work in German, which is a special gift, because although I have translated his work myself, so much of the original genius is untranslatable. Nonetheless, I recommend that everyone give the English a try and glance now and then at the German originals.
Mark Ballinger
Jul 23, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I had hoped for some rich, deep, serious poetry. Instead I read this overripe mind-numbing emotionless pile. It seems like every poem starts line one with a small thought and then RAPTURE ANGELS LUMINOSITY WOO WOO. If Rilke has a poetic voice, it's one I don't care for.
Alex Obrigewitsch
These works are the epitome of Rilke's greatness.
Mitchell's translations are good as well, sticking fairly close to Rilke's language(if that makes any sense when speaking of translation)
Dec 02, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poesía
«¿De quién podemos valernos? No de ángeles ni de hombres.»

Más versos en:
May 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dad read this to me at bedtime see . I must did put me to sleep.
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A nice edition but Stephen Mitchell's translation hits me the hardest.
poetry is hard to translate
jose coimbra
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clio, literature
"Elegia...luto, recuperação, pranto, reparação, lamento...não no sentido melancólico de desânimo e astenia...mas no sentido reparador de uma recuperação das forças construtivas de mudança e transição. Ambiguidade, morte e renascimento...Na sensibilidade de um grego a elegia é o canto da passagem para o por-vir". Emmanuel Carneiro Leão, introdução.

[...] Não já é tempo de, amando, [nos libertar e, tremendo, resistir ao amado: [como a flecha resiste à corda a fim de, toda concentrada [no impulso, [
Niara Martins
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rilke is most inspired when he is most concise. He can crystalize beautiful images, trimming the superficial, into just a few words. Like Tobias, it feels like his way to his poems was inspired by a beautiful youth and we can get a glimpse of something that lies beyond our material existence.

Poulin's translation has a nice flow to it and does justice to the poems, despite the lack of rhyme. The fact that the original version is there allows us to get the feeling of Rilke's musicality and rhythm
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I'd rather read George Barker, but the endnotes reminded about the mystical properties of the willow branch.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not really my style of poetry.
Bruce Taylor
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
an essential collection that holds up after multiple rereads
Stephen Harper
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another favorite of mine that I will take wherever I go. Many lines ring in my heart.

"And if the world has ceased to hear you, say to the silent earth: I flow. To the rushing water speak: I am."
Jonas Dornelles
absolute master-piece
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece of poetry. There's nothing like it.
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Rainer Maria Rilke is considered one of the German language's greatest 20th century poets.

His haunting images tend to focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety — themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets.

He wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose. His two mos
“Our own heart always exceeds us.” 5 likes
“Someday, emerging at last from the violent insight,
let me sing out jubilation and praise to assenting angels.
Let not even one of the clearly-struck hammers of my heart
fail to sound because of a slack, a doubtful,
or a broken string. Let my joyfully streaming face
make me more radiant; let my hidden weeping arise
and blossom. How dear you will be to me then, you nights
of anguish. Why didn't I kneel more deeply to accept you,
inconsolable sisters, and surrendering, lose myself
in your loosened hair. How we squander our hours of pain.
How we gaze beyond them into the bitter duration
to see if they have an end. Though they are really
our winter-enduring foliage, our dark evergreen,
our season in our inner year--, not only a season
in time--, but are place and settlement, foundation and soil
and home.”
More quotes…