Cover image for The essential Rilke
The essential Rilke
Rilke, Rainer Maria, 1875-1926.
Uniform Title:
Poems. Selections. English & German
Bilingual edition, first edition.
Publication Information:
Hopewell, N.J. : Ecco Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xviii, 157 pages ; 20 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PT2635.I65 A246 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



From the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Galway Kinnell and co-translator Hannah Liebmann comes The Essential Rilke, with newly translated selections of the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke and an informative introduction. This collection also features all of the poems in their original German on facing pages.

German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) enjoys ever-increasing popularity. His Duino Elegies is generally considered one of the greatest long poems of the twentieth century. The Essential Rilke includes all the celebrated Duino Elegies as well as a number of shorter poems--the favorites and the less familiar. Throughout his poetry, Rilke addresses questions of how to live and relate to the world in a voice that is simultaneously prophetic and intensely personal. Kinnell and Liebmann's translations put accuracy first and yet retain the power and grace of poetry.

The Essential Rilke adds a valuable bilingual edition to Ecco's popular The Essential Poets series and these translations offer new insight into this complex German poet whose work is read and admired throughout the world.

Author Notes

More than any other modern German writer, Rainer Maria Rilke seems to match our romantic idea of what a poet should be, though, as with many writers, separating artistry from affectation is often difficult.

Restless, sensitive, reverent, yet egotistical, Rilke often seems to hover in his poems like a sort of ethereal being. He was born in 1875 to a wealthy family in Prague. After a few years devoted to the study of art and literature, he spent most of his adult life wandering among the European capitals and devoting himself single-mindedly to poetry. His early poems reflect his interest in the visual and plastic arts, as he tries to lose himself in contemplation of objects such as an antique torso of Apollo.His later books of poetry, such as Duino Elegies (1923) and Sonnets to Orpheus (1923), on the contrary, focus intently on internal realms. The poetry of Rilke is noted, above all, for metaphysical and psychological nuances.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

Introductionp. ix
from The Book of Images (1902; 1906)
from A Childhood/Aus einer Kindbeitp. 3
Autumn Day/Herbsttagp. 5
The Beggar's Song/Das Lied des Bettlersp. 7
from New Poems (1907; 1908)
Pieta/Pietap. 11
The Panther/Der Pantherp. 13
The Swan/Der Schwanp. 15
Going Blind/Die Erblindendep. 17
Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes/Orpheus. Eurydike. Hermesp. 19
The Bowl of Roses/Die Rosenschalep. 27
Archaic Torso of Apollo/Archaischer Torso Apollosp. 33
Leda/Ledap. 35
Don Juan's Childhood/Don Juans Kindheitp. 37
The Flamingos/Die Flamingosp. 39
from Requiem (1909)
Requiem for a Friend/Requiem fur eine Freundinp. 43
from The Life of Mary (1913)
The Quieting of Mary/Stillung Mariae mitp. 63
With the Resurrected One/dem Auferstandenen
[Long you must suffer] (1913)/[Lange musst du leiden]p. 67
Death (1915)/Der Todp. 69
[I'm not sure yet when] (1922)/[Von meiner Antwort weiss] ich noch nicht]p. 71
[Beside the road used to sun] (1924)/[An der sonngewohnten Strasse]p. 73
Duino Elegies (1923)
The First Elegy/Die Erste Elegiep. 77
The Second Elegy/Die Zweite Elegiep. 85
The Third Elegy/Die Dritte Elegiep. 91
The Fourth Elegy/Die Vierte Elegiep. 99
The Fifth Elegy/Die Funfte Elegiep. 105
The Sixth Elegy/Die Sechste Elegiep. 113
The Seventh Elegy/Die Siebente Elegiep. 117
The Eighth Elegy/Die Achte Elegiep. 125
The Ninth Elegy/Die Neunte Elegiep. 131
The Tenth Elegy/Die Zehnte Elegiep. 137
from The Sonnets to Orpheus (1923)
I, 2 [And almost a girl it was]/[Und fast ein Madchen wars]p. 149
I, 3 [A god can do it]/[Ein Gott vermags]p. 151
I, 5 [Erect no memorial]/[Errichtet keinen Denkstein]p. 153
I, 19 [Though the world changes quickly]/[Wandelt sich rasch auch die Welt]p. 155
II, 13 [Be ahead of all parting]/[Sei allem Abschied voran]p. 157

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