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A Year with Rilke: Daily Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  431 ratings  ·  40 reviews
One of the most beloved poets of the twentieth century, Rainer Maria Rilke is widely celebrated for his depth of insight and timeless relevance. He has influenced generations of writers with his classic Letters to a Young Poet, and his reflections on the divine and our place in the world are disarmingly profound. A Year with Rilke provides the first ever reading from Rilke ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published November 17th 2009 by HarperOne (first published October 29th 2009)
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Jun 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
i thought i loved rilke, but it turns out i actually love rilke filtered through the collaborative translations of joanna macy and anita barrows. everybody always hatin on them for being non-literal and taking liberties and so on, but i feel ok about it. rilke through the lens of these two ladies is about the most beautiful and comforting and illuminating thing that has ever existed in the world.
James Klagge
This is the second year I have used a book of daily readings. Once again, I didn't do too well keeping up on a daily basis. But I have liked trying to be disciplined.
I have a love/hate relationship with Rilke. 35 years ago I read "Letters to a Young Poet" which I still enjoy and recommend to others. That has led me to want to read his poetry, but that has been tough. I have struggled to appreciate poetry now for about 20 years, with very mixed success. Rilke is someone who seems genuinely deep
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
January 4 - "I have experienced a truth more completely than ever before: that life's bestowal of riches already surpasses any subsequent impoverishment. What, then, remains to be feared? Only that we might forget this! But around and within us, how much it helps to remember!"
Hoda Marmar
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hoda by: ريم الرافعي
Shelves: e-book, ana-w-rim
Reading one Rilke quote or poem per day, every day of the year 2017. How cool and exciting! Something to look forward to every day
Thanks Rim for suggesting this marvelous idea!

December 31, 2017:
I just read the last quoted Rilke excerpt. I feel bittersweet about finishing this book and turning the last page. It has been there for me throughout the whole of 2017. Some days, the passage was ok, other days it was butterflies-in-my-stomach amazing!!
I highly recommend this awesome experience.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Time with Rilke is always time well spent.
Julie  Capell
I was inspired to pick up this book after hearing one of the two translators, Joanna Macy, on an episode of "On Being." I knew next to nothing about Rilke, but her enthusiasm for his work was so infectious I knew I needed to read more. This book seems to be the perfect way to gain access to his work, since it contains selections from a wide range of his writings, including The Book of Hours, Uncollected Poems, Sonnets to Orpheus and Letters to a Young Poet.

In a case of finding the right reading
Laura-nassidesa Eschbaugh
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great-books
I find these daily doses of some of Rilke's works an excellent way to start the day. I admire both his poerty and prose. If you start reading is works, you will thirst for more.
"You said live out loud
and die you siad lightly
and over and over again you said be"
This is part of the entry for Aug 12th.
Laura Munson
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book has me back in the practice of daily devotional.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is OK, but you don't need it. Just read Rilke is his entirety, I think. Letters to a Young Poet, and then Duino Elegies or Sonnets to Orpheus.
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I stopped reading this after a while. The entries were not as interesting or inspirational as I had hoped. I'll get back to it sometime later.
Janet Tuck
Sep 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I have been dipping in and out of this book with mixed success for a while. Some days readings are extraordinary. Others less so.

Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary book to live with for a year...a poem or short passage a day and that's how I started my day: reading it before I got out of bed and it had a tremendous cumulative effect on me. Good translations and fantastic selections. I am not equipped to critically review Rilke but commend this project, this approach which indeed changed how I think gradually and cumulatively.
Feb 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
A pile of fragments that are often too short to resonate with me. The proses within iterate ideas of grandeur. I don't find myself caring at all. Show, don't tell.
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Probably one of my all time favorite books of poetry. Everything is just so beautifully written. Still reread excerpts years later.
Jessica Santoriello
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
You're supposed to read this over the course of a year, but I loved it too much to only read one passage a day.
Bev Long
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Useful way to engage with this writer; I have frequently found him hard work previously.
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could read his original work instead of translations. His work leaves me awestruck each time. I would read him again and again.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I love poetry.
Kate Forsyth
I first encountered Rainer Maria Rilke when a friend gave me a copy of LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET when I was in my early twenties.

It spoke to me very powerfully, and I went on to read many of Rilke’s poems and letters.

I re-discovered Rilke again when I was writing my latest novel THE BEAST’S GARDEN, which is a retelling of Beauty & the Beast set in Nazi Germany.

I was drawn to read his work again because I remembered that Rilke was obsessed with roses, (a potent motif in the fairy tale) and
Apr 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
It is a terrible job they did in translating Rilke. Losing every nuance, every shape and form, every meaning beyond the blablah romanticism they attribute to him.
Only compare this:

They would say an angel came.

Why angel? What came was night,
moving indifferently amidst the trees.
The disciples stirred in their dreams.
Why an angel? What came was night.

The night that came was like any other,
dogs sleeping, stones lying there—
like any night of grief,
to be survived till morning comes.

Angels do not
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So-I read his year in one day...I couldn't get enough..he writes in the colors and feelings that I didn't know I have.
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rainer Maria Rilke has been on my radar ever since I read The Time Traveler's Wife several years ago. I was hesitant to read his poetry though because most of the translations I found were bumbling and cumbersome. Not so with Barrows and Macy's translations of selected poems and prose by Rilke. Rilke was a man of profound insight and ability. His poems, especially, speak of a mind which could both feel and philosophize deeply - the secret behind all truly timeless art. My favorite reading was ...more
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One has to acquire a taste for Rilke, and Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows have done a nice job in helping me gain an appreciation for this deeply existential German writer.

I enjoyed the collection of 366 verses from Rainer Maria Rilke's works, arranged to be read, one per day. The bite-sized chunks were at first hard to digest, and I was initially frustrated to reread many of the passages to understand their meaning.

In time I slowed down, grew accustomed to Rilke's thoughts on life, death,
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This compilation of selections from Rilke's poetry and prose has been an excellent morning or evening treat for the past 365 days - at times serene and calming, and at others challenging and vibrant. At its best, his writing captures the ineffable and profound in human living in a way that is direct and metaphoric. His themes - love, solitude, death, suffering, silence, growth - are generally spiritual, natural, universal and transformative. And this book is an excellent way to discover the ...more
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Just started using this book as a daily reader for 2013. Already a few daily entries have been luminous, and all have been worthwhile. I will say I am ambivalent about the translations, and am finding myself wanting to dig out more familiar translations for comparison to Macy and Barrow's versions. Maybe by the end of the year the turns these authors give Rilke will become familiar too, and I'll warm to them. I'm keeping an open mind.
Jan 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
As I believe I've read in other reviews, this suffered some from a lack of consistent quality in the daily readings. Had I stuck to reading one page per day as formatted, I would have been very disappointed in a number of the days. Still a lot of good material here -- but it's Rilke, so that should sort of be a given -- and worth a read.
Dec 31, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was very much out of my comfort zone. I'm not the best poetry reader, but it's on my list to read more poetry, so I thought a year-long commitment would be good push off the cliff.
While I can't say that I'm now a poetry person, it was a very good exercise in discipline and a great way to expand my reading horizons.
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This book provides daily readings from the writings of Ranier Marie Rilke, both poems and excerpts of letters. I have found this volume to be illuminating, comforting, challenging and a great introduction to this wonderful poet who had a way to speak to the dynamics of the human soul, relationships and living in the world.
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Rilke's work doesn't really do it for me as a daily reading. While some snippets from his poems, prose, letters and journals are lovely and profound(e.g.Live the Questions, Along with the Laughter), most are too fragmented to provoke the "aha!" moment I look for in this sort of book.
Dec 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book offers a daily thought in the form of poetry of Rilke which I have always loved. Just a small piece of poetry every day--nice. Some of my favorites are not included, but I have read something new too!
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