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This volume marks the first translation of these prayer-poems into English. Originally written in 1899, Rilke wrote them upon returning to Germany from his first trip to Russia. His experience of the East shaped him profoundly. He found himself entranced by Orthodox churches and monasteries, above all by the icons that seemed to him like flames glowing in dark spaces. He intended these poems as icons of sorts, gestures that could illumine a way for seekers in the darkness. As Rilke here writes, "I love the dark hours of my being, / for they deepen my senses."
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A ground-breaking volume that presents, for the first time in English, these prayer-poems as Rilke intended them
“This extraordinary early-draft form of some of Rilke’s most famous poems somehow evokes, for me, Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks—it shows the same mix of surety, roughness, genius, and the sense of precipitous creative speed. Rilke’s poetry always reminds us what a direct pondering of intimacy and depth might look like. I am most grateful for these muscular translations and Mark Burrows’ extended introductory comments, offering entrance to a body of work until now unavailable to English-language readers.”
—Jane Hirshfield, poet and translator; author most recently of Come, Thief: Poems
“Prayers of a Young Poet is a hauntingly beautiful book. Mark Burrows’ splendid translation renders the passion and the pathos of the anonymous young monk who sings these love songs to the Lord and somehow speaks our hidden desire. In these pages, Rilke dances in the dark to the tune of his own poems, his reluctant partner the elusive God he woos. The effect is irresistible: an invitation to join in the dance no reader can refuse.”
—Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, poet and author of Saint Sinatra & Other Poems
“Rilke’s praying monk begins with the time-honored conventions of his religious tradition, then moves beyond them to the dark silences of forest and dream where God waits to be discovered anew. In these startling poems brought to us in Mark Burrows’ lucid translation, metaphor gives way to metaphor, as each verbal foray into the divine courts a mystery that can be approached but neither comprehended nor defined.”
—Peter S. Hawkins, Professor of Religion and Literature, Yale Divinity School
Rilke wrote these poems in 1899 after returning to Germany from his first trip to Russia, calling them simply “the prayers.” They reflect the intensity of his experience of the East, voicing his fascination with Orthodox churches and monasteries. The icons, so different than the religious art he encountered on an earlier trip to Italy, seemed to him like flames glowing in dark spaces. These luminous prayers gesture as verbal icons, their images illumining a way in the darkness for seekers of the sacred. As he here writes:
I love the dark hours of my being,
for they deepen my senses . . .
From them I’ve come to know that I have room
for a second life, timeless and wide.
“How perfect that Mark Burrows is as fine a scholar as he is a poet. His understanding of ‘the young poet’ is subtle and rare; his knowledge of Rilke’s language and intentions is rich and deep. It is incredible that it’s taken so long to have these prayers in a single song as they were intended, but every line in this exquisite collection rewards the wait.”
—Dr. Stephanie Dowrick, author of Seeking the Sacred and In the Company of Rilke
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Book Description Paraclete Press, 2012. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # mon0000024373
Book Description Paraclete Press October 2012, 2012. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 101120
Book Description Paraclete Press, 2012. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. A New Stated First Printing and by Number Line. Seller Inventory # 007887
Book Description Paraclete Press, 2012. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1612610765
Book Description Paraclete Press. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1612610765 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0753585