Duino Elegies

Perhaps no cycle of poems in any European language has made so profound and lasting an impact on an English-speaking readership as Rilke's "Duino Elegies". These luminous new translations make it marvelously clear that the poem is profoundly committed to a real world, observed with an acute and visionary intensity. Completed in the same year as "The Wasteland" was published, the "Elegies" constitute a magnificent godless poem in their rejection of the transcendent and in their passionate celebration of the here and now: Just once for each thing. Once and no more. And we too, just once. And never again. Yet to have been this once, and so utterly, even if only once - our having been on this earth can never be undone. Troubled by our insecure place in this world and fractured relationship with death, the "Elegies" are nevertheless populated by a vast throng of vivid and affecting figures: acrobats, lovers, angels, mothers, fathers, statues, salesmen, actors and children. These vigorous and exciting translations and their accompanying commentary offer twenty-first century readers in English a new opportunity to experience the power of Rilke's greatest masterpiece.