Sonnets to Orpheus

Rainer Maria Rilke; Translated by Edward Snow

North Point Press

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Breathing, you invisible poem!
World-space in pure continuous interchange
with my own being. Equipose
in which I rhythmically transpire.

Written only four years before Rilke's death, this sequence of sonnets, varied in form yet consistently structured, stands as the poet's final masterwork. In these meditations on the constant flux of our world and the ephemerality of experience, Rilke envisions death not only as one among many of life's transformations but also as an ideally receptive state of being. Because Orpheus has visited the realm of death and returned to the living, his lyre, a unifying presence in these poems, is an emblem of fluidity and musical transcendence. And Eurydice, condemned to Hades as a result of Orpheus's backward glance, becomes in Rilke's universe a mythical figure of consolation and hope.

Edward Snow, in his translations of New Poems, The Book of Images, Uncollected Poems, and Duino Elegies, has emerged as Rilke's most able English-language interpreter. Adhering faithfully to the intent of Rilke's German while constructing nuanced, colloquial poems in English, Snow's Sonnets to Orpheus should serve as the authoritative translation for years to come.

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Rainer Maria Rilke

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Reviews

Praise for Sonnets to Orpheus

"[Edward Snow] has emerged as Rilke's outstanding English-language interpreter . . . [He] is doing important work. Robert Lowell once wrote that it was hard to imagine Rilke first written in English, that the poems were sealed in German. Snow is unsealing them." -- Robert Phillips, Houston Chronicle

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About the Author

Rainer Maria Rilke; Translated by Edward Snow

Edward Snow is a professor of English at Rice University. He is the recipient of an Academy of Arts and Letters Award for his Rilke translations and has twice received the Academy of American Poets' Harold Morton Landon Translation Award.

Rainer Maria Rilke

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Available Formats and Book Details

Sonnets to Orpheus
Rainer Maria Rilke; Translated by Edward Snow

Bilingual Edition Trade Paperback

Bilingual Edition Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
North Point Press
May 2005
Bilingual Edition Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780865477216
ISBN10: 0865477213
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 144 pages
$14.00

Bilingual Edition e-Book Agency

Bilingual Edition e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
North Point Press
6/3/2014
Bilingual Edition e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466872677
ISBN10: 1466872675
144 pages
$7.99
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North Point Press

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