Chris's Reviews > Duino Elegies and The Sonnets to Orpheus

Duino Elegies and The Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke
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's review
May 18, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: hour-before-bed, litfic-poetry

Poulin's translation makes certain different choices than I might. For example, "Weltsraum" tends to become "cosmic space". This material is certainly susceptible to New Age or deep-ecology readings; my own, naturally, tend to be more para-Christian than anything. Matter of taste perhaps. At a technical level, on the other hand, I have to admire Poulin managing to keep an English sonnet rhyme scheme in his translations while still keeping a sense of the German's freedom.

All that said, the point here is the poems themselves, which are incomparably rich meditations on embodiment, time, and mortality, with a healthy side of angels and gods. Someday, I'll write something about angels, apocalypse, and the nature of human worship. It will draw on Rilke here, and Walter Benjamin, and Tony Kushner, and Messiaen, and Neon Genesis Evangelion, and it will be fabulous.
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Reading Progress

May 18, 2007 – Shelved
May 15, 2011 – Started Reading
May 15, 2011 –
0.0% "School's almost done. Time for a poetry break."
May 17, 2011 –
page 26
11.61%
May 23, 2011 –
page 32
14.29%
May 28, 2011 –
page 79
35.27% "Finished the Elegies. Words fail."
May 29, 2011 –
page 102
45.54%
May 30, 2011 –
page 138
61.61%
June 5, 2011 –
page 158
70.54%
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: litfic-poetry
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: hour-before-bed
June 7, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Claire (new) - added it

Claire Okay, this is really weird. I randomly happened upon someone's profile, who lives in Santa Ana, and was clicking through friends, and then I was about to ask you what you thought of this, and then realized you live IN SOMERVILLE ZERO MILES AWAY.

Anyway, neighbor, what do you think? I picked it up a while ago and need to get to it myself.


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