Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

Registered by Rico-Verde of Leesburg, Florida USA on 2/18/2005
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Rico-Verde from Leesburg, Florida USA on Friday, February 18, 2005
From Library Journal:
The German poet Rilke wrote his Book of Hours (Das Stundenbuch) between 1899, when he was 23 years old, and 1903. The poems, sacred and intimate and not intended for the public, "came to him" in a highly inspirational way (he described it as "inner dictation") following a visit to a monastery in Russia, where he was deeply moved by the practice of praying several times daily following a "book of hours." [Translators] Barrows and Macy, accomplished poets who were born into the Judeo-Christian tradition but who have also embraced Buddhism, have carefully translated 80 of the 135 poems in the original Stundenbuch, culling some poems they felt to be weaker or less relevant to a late 20th-century reader and artfully reducing other poems to their essentials.

This is going to be my first International bookring. Please PM me if you would like to join. I'll then add your name to the list. We'll begin as soon as five people join up. (If five people don't join, we'll begin in a couple of weeks.) Please PM the person after your name on the list for their address. Thanks & have fun!

Current location in bold type.
1. Me (Leesburg, Florida, USA)
2. gnissorckoob (Miami, Florida, USA)
3. Aquina (London, England, UK)
4. papalagui (Mafra, Lisbon, Portugal)
5. BFD (Aveiro, Portugal) prefers to ship w/in Europe
6.. Could be you...
7. etc.

Journal Entry 2 by Rico-Verde from Leesburg, Florida USA on Monday, March 07, 2005
I've got mixed feelings about this book. Pro: The poems are fascinating and profound. Con: Many of the poems have been culled or edited by the translators. Pro: The translations are clear and effective. Con: The translators take many liberties, perhaps obscuring Rilke's intent. What I'm going to do is copy some of these translations and compare with others. I really like a lot of the poems here--I dog-eared just about every other page. But I'd like to find a translation that is more faithful to Rilke's original.

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Sent to gnissorckoob in a postal release. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 3 by gnissorckoob from Miami, Florida USA on Friday, March 11, 2005
It's here now. As a recycling buff, I like the way it is wrapped, Rico.

I am intrigued by Rilke. This particular edition has quite a bit of explanatory material that might help me. I assume that English translations are pale shodows of the real thing, but still this is pretty good:

I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.

Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that's wide and timeless.

So I am sometimes like a tree
rustling over a gravesite
and making real the dream
of the one its living roots

a dream once lost
among sorrows and songs.

Journal Entry 4 by gnissorckoob from Miami, Florida USA on Friday, March 25, 2005
I am deeply into this book now. I can definitely see why Rico-Verde wanted to share it in a bookring.

There is quite a controversy among the amazon reader-reviewers [see Link] about the translation, and I admit that I wondered initially if I was going to get the “real” Rilke or something overpersonalized by these translators. (They spell out carefully what they did in the introductory material and the translation commentary. They say they attempted to present “a contemporary English reading." It seems they did outright editing, but based on scholarly contemplation.) In fact I am resonating with these two women’s Rilke, far beyond my expectations. I am actually transported.

Here is some more info about them:
Joanna Macy -- LInk
Anita Barrows -- Link

Update 3/30/05: Finished it last night. For reasons that are not clear, I liked the first and last sections better than the middle section. Will be mailing off to Aquina asap. I may buy my own copy. I recommend reading the poems with one finger stuck in the back commentary section for reference.

4/04/05: Sent by airmail to Aquina in London, after a little delay because I lost her address.

Journal Entry 5 by Aquina from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Friday, April 15, 2005
Here it is, thanks Rico Verde and gnissorckoob.

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