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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seasons of the soul
An awaited translation of the Swiss- German writer.
It is a good translation with acceptable accomplishments on poems, where the translator has to forget the beuty achieved in the original language to a " creation" thah looks for balance. In this case many poems give the content, rhyme and beauty as perhaps Hesse would have likely approved.
The book is short and...
Published on November 13, 2011 by Okas Ion

versus
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
I was excited to purchase and receive this collection, especially after seeing good reviews on Amazon. Hesse has been perhaps my favorite author since reading Siddartha as a teenager, and I keep returning to Steppenwolf, Demian, along with Journey to the East, long after having read each of these for the first time. While there is no doubt, to my mind, that Hesse was one...
Published 19 months ago by James Deirmendjian


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, May 22, 2013
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This review is from: The Seasons of the Soul: The Poetic Guidance and Spiritual Wisdom of Hermann Hesse (Paperback)
I was excited to purchase and receive this collection, especially after seeing good reviews on Amazon. Hesse has been perhaps my favorite author since reading Siddartha as a teenager, and I keep returning to Steppenwolf, Demian, along with Journey to the East, long after having read each of these for the first time. While there is no doubt, to my mind, that Hesse was one of the greatest writers of his time, the translation you will find here is severely lacking. What struck me as immediately telling about its quality was the sense that I was reading cheap new-age banter, comprised by the foreward and other exegetical material. This is divided into snippets from both the translator and another person, both of whom seem to offer some fine and accurate remarks, but also a good deal of exposition that is frankly overdone and sappy. The biggest disappointment, however, was the fact that many poems which rhyme in the original German have not retained this feature in the English. Nor have they retained their proper rhythm. I can acknowlege that this would have been no simple feat, but such is the work of good translation. For an example, consider "Stufen," one of Hesse's finest cosmic poems, the one which the collection ends in. Fischer translates the title as "Stages," which gets at the meaning of the poem, but it is precisely this sort of straying from the letter of the piece that illuminates the sort of liberties he's already taken to interpret for the reader. Here's the original German for you:

Wie jede Blüte welkt und jede Jugend
Dem Alter weicht, blüht jede Lebensstufe,
Blüht jede Weisheit auch und jede Tugend
Zu ihrer Zeit und darf nicht ewig dauern.
Es muß das Herz bei jedem Lebensrufe
Bereit zum Abschied sein und Neubeginne,
Um sich in Tapferkeit und ohne Trauern
In andre, neue Bindungen zu geben.
Und jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne,
Der uns beschützt und der uns hilft, zu leben.

Wir sollen heiter Raum um Raum durchschreiten,
An keinem wie an einer Heimat hängen,
Der Weltgeist will nicht fesseln uns und engen,
Er will uns Stuf' um Stufe heben, weiten.
Kaum sind wir heimisch einem Lebenskreise
Und traulich eingewohnt, so droht Erschlaffen,
Nur wer bereit zu Aufbruch ist und Reise,
Mag lähmender Gewöhnung sich entraffen.

Es wird vielleicht auch noch die Todesstunde
Uns neuen Räumen jung entgegen senden,
Des Lebens Ruf an uns wird niemals enden...
Wohlan denn, Herz, nimm Abschied und gesunde!

Now compare that to Fischer's English:

All blossoms will wilt,
each youth fold into the mold of age.
Wisdom and virtue never last forever.
Your heart must always be ready to leave
and ready to begin again,
must form new bonds
with courage and without regret.
Every beginning offers a magic power
that protects us and helps us to endure.

This journey through the realms of life
was not meant to end in one home only.
World spirit does not want to tie us down,
wants us to soar into the open.
When we stay too long in one place,
get stuck in norm and habit, we wear out.

Only embarking on new, unknown journeys
can free us from the prison of stagnation.

Maybe the moment of our death too
is just another gate to new dimensions
The call of life to us will never end.
Well, then, my heart, take leave and heal.

While much of the poem's sense has been preserved, Fischer's form does not imitate Hesse's strictly enough to give one a feel for the intensity and exactness of the latters' disciplined, formal, traditional craft. The intention with this collection was good, but the execution seems to me flawed. One gets the suspicion from it that Fischer's German is simply not up to the task. Some might call me a Steppenwolf for complaining like this, and I would concur entirely.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seasons of the soul, November 13, 2011
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This review is from: The Seasons of the Soul: The Poetic Guidance and Spiritual Wisdom of Hermann Hesse (Paperback)
An awaited translation of the Swiss- German writer.
It is a good translation with acceptable accomplishments on poems, where the translator has to forget the beuty achieved in the original language to a " creation" thah looks for balance. In this case many poems give the content, rhyme and beauty as perhaps Hesse would have likely approved.
The book is short and requires a slow reading to capture the longing of the poet and his lessons learned in life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy & accessible poetry, October 15, 2012
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This short book is well structured, with an informative and detailed introduction to each section of poems. Each of these excellent introductions give an intimate sense of Hesse the poet, his passions and his torments.

The poems that follow were, like most poetry volumes, made up of verses that resonated deeply with me, and others that were interesting to read. Each reader would, I'm sure, find their own favourite poem.

Some of the poems were, unexpectedly, less lyrical than I expected from a mystical poet. Perhaps some essence was lost in translation (always a difficult task) or perhaps this is Hesse's Germanic voice - rather sombre and heavier in tone than other mystical poets such as Yeats, Rilke, Kabir or Gibrain.

Overall, this book is very good. The introductory pieces followed by a selection of poems grouped into common themes (Love, Inspiration, Nature, Dialogue with Divine and Seasons of Life) made this easy to read and accessible. The poems in the section on The Seasons of Life and the Passage of Time are particularly moving.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book resonates deeply …, February 19, 2013
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This review is from: The Seasons of the Soul: The Poetic Guidance and Spiritual Wisdom of Hermann Hesse (Paperback)
I had the pleasure of reading this slim bound volume of Herman Hesse’s poems recently in the local library and simply had to purchase a copy of my own. I had read Herman Hesse when I was a teenager but it is the beautiful and sensitive translation of these poems by Ludwig Max Fischer that helped me to once more appreciate the depth and boldness of Hesse’s writing. The poems in this edition are divided into five sections roughly corresponding to the topics of love, inspiration, finding meaning, the divine and growing old. Each candid poem resonated deeply as now I read it not only admiring the beauty and power of the poems but from experiences encountered and memories accumulated. What is so moving is the poems speak a universal language of thoughts, emotions, questions, doubts, resolutions that transcend time, space and culture. I find this a book for those not only seeking inspiration but who enjoy the beauty of language and imagery as solace for the soul.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Hermann Hesse collection, January 6, 2013
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This review is from: The Seasons of the Soul: The Poetic Guidance and Spiritual Wisdom of Hermann Hesse (Paperback)
I heard one of Hermann Hesse's quotes on a TV program and just had to hear more from this author. Beautiful and inspiring collection that will certainly touch your soul. Puts many things into perspective.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift for Husband - He Loved it!, April 4, 2013
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This review is from: The Seasons of the Soul: The Poetic Guidance and Spiritual Wisdom of Hermann Hesse (Paperback)
Bought this as a gift for my husband a few months ago and these are his words: Best poetry book I ever read, give it all the stars you can! He felt it spoke every word of his soul.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, February 18, 2013
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Hesse is Hesse. Beautiful poetry. Was not aware of this work until I happened upon it on Amazon. Makes me want to re-read all of his books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Get to know who Hesse was..., January 5, 2014
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This review is from: The Seasons of the Soul: The Poetic Guidance and Spiritual Wisdom of Hermann Hesse (Paperback)
This book gives a wonderful glimpse into the soul of Hermann Hesse at various points in his life. Not only his poetry, but other writings, plus the commentary of the author/translator, Ludwig Max Fischer, and the Foreword by Andrew Harvey complement beautifully the writings of Hesse .
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read., December 4, 2013
By 
Marilyn Dalrymple "MaLing" (Lancaster, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Seasons of the Soul: The Poetic Guidance and Spiritual Wisdom of Hermann Hesse (Paperback)
I've just started reading this and I find it an interesting read. I'm sure I'll enjoy it more once I get into the book more. It also has a little history about Hesse, which I find interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Come and See, November 17, 2013
By 
Dennis W. Cleary (New York, New York United States) - See all my reviews
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COME AND SEE

The themes echo the human spirit over centuries. The commentaries offer the reader insight into his amazing life; paths each of us have walked or are walking; it is good to have a guide not so much to point forward but rather to stand side by side on the journey. Simply, moving, perplexing and accompanying.
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The Seasons of the Soul: The Poetic Guidance and Spiritual Wisdom of Hermann Hesse
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