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Uncollected Poems: Bilingual Edition (German Edition) [Paperback]

Rainer Maria Rilke , Edward Snow
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 11, 1997
Between the New Poems of 1907 and 1908 and his death in 1926, Rainer Maria Rilke published only two major volumes of poetry--the Duino Elegies and the Sonnets to Orpheus, both in 1923. But during this period he was writing verse continually, often prolifically--in letters, in guest books, in presentation copies, and chiefly in the pocket-books he always carried with him. This body of uncollected work exceeds five hundred pieces: finished poems of great poise and brilliance, headlong statements that hurtle through their subjects, haunting "fragments," and short bursts that arc into the unpursuable. A remarkable number of them are among Rilke's finest poems.

Snow's selection of more than a hundred of these little-known works distills the best of the uncollected poetry while offering a wide enough choice to convey Rilke's variety and industry during the years he wrote them. Uncollected Poems will lead students, scholars, and other readers to a fresh--and more accurate--understanding of this great poet's life and work.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Edward Snow has done the poetry-reading world a tremendous service in translating and collecting these previously obscure pieces of Rainer Maria Rilke's. The poems were written late in Rilke's career, and continue his lifelong concerns with the deepest and subtlest questions of being. Beautiful and lyrical writing fills these pages, as in this untitled poem, written in Paris in March, 1913: "We don't know what we spend: / all that's named is past and each being / invents itself at the last second / and will hear nothing ..."

From Library Journal

The poems collected here were written between 1908, the year Rilke published New Poems, and 1923, when Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus appeared. The work of those intervening years was considered to be of lesser accomplishment, poems about the decline of inspiration or the crisis of writer's block. On the contrary, Snow, an award-winning translator of Rilke (Book of Images, LJ 6/15/91, and New Poems, LJ 9/1/87), claims this was a period of great florescence, with some of the poems ranking with Rilke's finest achievements. If they had been published together, Snow believes, they "would stand as one of the great volumes of poetry in 20th-century literature." There is an intimate immediacy to these poems that shows a contrasting side to the oracular voice of the Elegies and Sonnets. The German originals are arranged en face, with Snow's sensitive, skillful translations. Highly recommended, especially for collections strong in 20th-century poetry. [See also Ralph Freedman's Life of a Poet: Rainer Maria Rilke, reviewed on p. 108-Ed.]-Christine Stenstrom, Brooklyn P.L.
--Christine Stenstrom, Brooklyn P.L.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Press; Bilingual edition edition (April 11, 1997)
  • Language: German
  • ISBN-10: 086547513X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865475137
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #718,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry Transcending Borders February 4, 2005
By Cathy
Edward Snow's translations of Rilke are always beautiful. As a non-German speaker, I don't have the luxury of commenting on the purity of the translation, but having had the opportunity to compare Snow's translation of Duino Elegies to an older textbook version, I would say that Snow has a firm grasp on both the significance and the beauty of Rilke's poetry.

For those who have never read Rainer Maria Rilke, I strongly recommend beginning with these poems. While all his poetry books are powerfully moving, this one rises above the rest in its maturity, and also, due to its "uncollected" nature transcends the bounds of thematic elements. The arrangement is lovely, but I urge you to open this book at random. Whichever poem you turn to will gain different contours in the light of different moods, yet each has lines that resonate-you will find yourself remembering these gems at scattered moments, even months after reading them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Way to Read Translated Poetry September 18, 2007
After four years in college double-majoring in both English and German, and after a long search for German literature that managed to inspire my literary sensibilities, I finally discovered Rainer Maria Rilke the week I graduated.

Rilke's ability to capture moments in nature and to describe events in life both physical and spiritual transcends languages and cultures. His rhythm and use of sounds in poetry is something not to be missed. He is a true poet on every level.

This edition of his poetry gathers together many different subjects and forms that show off his abilities perfectly. My favorite part of it, though, is that it is a bilingual edition. Poetry is difficult (if not impossible) to really translate from one language to another, so if you're reading the text only in English, you can only get one sense of the piece. While I won't judge the translator's interpretation, I will say that having the English and German texts side-by-side makes for a smooth read for German learners trying to read the German side, as well as for non-German readers who want to read the original for the sounds and the form it takes.

Rilke is the perfect poet for Germanophiles with a British poetic sensibility. If you're looking for a book that combines a good poetic translation of Rilke's work with the original text, then this is definitely the one to get.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Translation! October 6, 1998
A beautiful translation as usual from Edward Snow. One of my more favorite books in my Rilke collection. Retains the beauty of the german to a high degree. Poems you may not see anywhere else anytime soon, and some fragments which are absolutely lovely.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Collection February 7, 2007
Rilke was one of the great imagists of the century. This collection contains magnificently translated poems by Edward Snow, who manages to capture the grace and power of Rilke's work. It is not altogether clear whether or not these poems were intended for publication, but it is a miracle that they were.

Rilke was a poet of images and of feelings, he captured again and again the feeling of man the individual caught in the sublime beauty of the earth and the cosmos:

"Earlier, how often, we'd remain, star in star,

when from the constellation the freest,

the announcing star, stepped forth and called.

Star in star we marveled,

He, the speaker of the star-sign,

I, my life's companion star.

And the night, how it granted us

The wide-awake accord" (235).

An excellent bilingual edition on the whole and a must for any reader of modern poetry.
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