National Poetry Month at Brainripples: Feature Poet Rainer Maria Rilke

One of my latest ventures in poetic study is in the works of poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926).  I first encountered Rilke’s work when I was in high school.  A friend shared a photocopied piece, and I remember finding it beautiful and utterly incomprehensible, save for a few scraps of emotion bubbling at the surface.  I remember a dichotomy of detachment and deep feeling in the words that resonated for me on first reading.

A couple months ago, I arrived about an hour early for my critique group meeting and found myself wandering the shelves at Borders, searching for ‘something.’  When I turned the corner in the poetry section, the name “Rilke” popped into my head, and I grabbed hold of The Essential Rilke, selected and translated from German by Galway Kinnell and Hannah Liebmann.

I know I still have that photocopy stuck in a book somewhere… It pops out every once in a while (alas, I cannot think of the poem’s title just now).  If I can find it, I’ll reread it and share my thoughts.  Also, I will be reading The Essential Rilke in coming months, and I’ll be sure to post when I have some reflections.

For now, I hope you will visit Poets.org where they have a page with information about Rilke, as well as a small selection of poems you can view including Archaic Torso of Apollo, Sonnet 6, and I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone.

Please feel welcome to share your own thoughts and impressions of Rilke!  Even if you’ve only just heard of him, take a minute to read a piece, and reflect.  What do you like (or dislike) about his work?

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3 Responses to National Poetry Month at Brainripples: Feature Poet Rainer Maria Rilke

  1. Robert says:

    Rilke continues to be a major force, influencing a generation of poets like Galway Kinnell who have, in turn, influenced many of our youngest poets who still have interest in forging a transcendent narrative arc.

  2. joefelso says:

    Rilke’s biography is as interesting as his poetry. Life of a Poet by Ralph Freedman is a good one, explaining Rilke’s work as a struggle with the creative process and art itself. He seems to have spent most of his life fighting writer’s block.

    My favorite poems were in his New Poems, which was published in 1907 or 1908, particularly “The Panther” and “Archaic Torso of Apollo,” but his Sonnets to Orpheus are also quite beautiful (evn if they are sometimes tough).

  3. Thanks for the Rilke discussion!

    You and your readers might like to know about LOST SON, a new novel based on Rilke’s life and work.

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