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Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   257
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.43" Width: 5.51" Height: 0.88"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2005
Publisher   Riverhead Trade
ISBN  1594481563  
EAN  9781594481567  
UPC  710261015001  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A special anniversary edition featuring the complete English and German texts, this collection of poetry, based on the Book of Hours--psalms and prayers for various times throughout the day--used by monks, offers prayers and songs that address such concerns as spirituality in the modern age and the sufferings of war, poverty, and disease. Reprint.

Publishers Description
What draws--and binds--thoughtful, educated people to a Church so often criticized by outsiders (and even members) as "authoritarian" or "out of step with the times?" This collection of personal accounts answers that question in diverse, fascinating, and deeply moving ways. Novelist William Kienzle discusses his years in the seminary, explaining why he eventually left the priesthood--but not the Church. Kathleen Howley reveals how God replaced alcohol in her life, and why the traditional Latin Mass holds so much more appeal than the folk Masses of her youth. Former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn compares his feelings for the Church with his lifelong belief in "team loyalty." Jon Hassler vividly recalls two very different childhood friends--and the attractions of both evil and goodness. These writers, and numerous others, offer a remarkable portrait of today's Catholic Church, creating a new understanding of how its presence has endured for nearly two thousand years, and why it continues to thrive.

Buy Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God by Anita Barrows, Joanna Macy, Rainer Maria Rilke, Christopher S. Foote, Bruce M. Novak & C. A. Rodger from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781594481567 & 1594481563 upc: 710261015001

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More About Anita Barrows, Joanna Macy, Rainer Maria Rilke, Christopher S. Foote, Bruce M. Novak & C. A. Rodger

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Anita Barrows, a prize-winning poet and a clinical psychologist, is the author of four books of her own poetry and the recipient of an NEA grant as well as the Quarterly Review of Literature's Contemporary Poetry Award. She has been a professional translator for more than thirty years.

Joanna Macy is a scholar of systems theory and Buddhist thought, and a student of German. Also a spiritual teacher and ecologist, she has spoken at the White House about ecology and spirituality.

Kevin Ryan has an academic affiliation as follows - Boston University.

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Product Categories
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Devotionals   [3746  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General   [9332  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Making of himself an offering...  Sep 7, 2008
The task of a translator, I think, has always been unappreciated. It is a demanding one, a task that can never be done to the perfection it begs. Language is a living, breathing thing, and it holds within it an entire culture, and in that culture, an entire people, and within these people, an entire world. It is not possible to withdraw one such world and make it fit into the shape of another.

Yet if we are to even try to understand one another, the many of us on this earth and our ways, then translating the great works of any culture is a much needed task that some very brave soul must undertake. Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy are such brave souls, and the two friends are bonded by their deep love for the work of German poet (but born in Prague), Rainer Maria Rilke. While I know a very little of German, I cannot by any measure judge their success in translation. I have read Rilke in two languages, German being neither of them, and only from that experience can I say, cautiously, that I believe them to be as successful as any translators may hope to be. And it may be enough that a translator love a work so deeply and with such devotion that this in itself carries through the spirit of what is intended.

How can one not fall in love with Rilke? The poet transcends time, expressing what humankind has tried to express, surely, since self-awareness first blushed at its own face. In this particular collection, Rilke's poetry is a kind of love letter to God. As love letters do, his poems speak of longing, of devotion, of the desire to serve and please, of the fears of separation, of the joy of reunion. He wishes to present himself to God as he is, with open heart, in praise, one lonely being, perhaps, to another lonely being, both craving to love and be loved.

You, God, who live next door--

If at times, through the long night, I trouble you
with my urgent knocking--
this is why: I hear you breathe so seldom.
I know you're all alone in that room.
If you should be thirsty, there's no one
to get you a glass of water.
I wait listening, always. Just give me a sigh!
I'm right here.

As it happens, the wall between us
is very thin. Why couldn't a cry
from one of us
break it down? It would crumble

it would barely make a sound.

For Rilke, God is most intimate, most personal. He speaks to Him as if they stand side by side, and indeed they do. The need for company is mutual. Rilke's work is arguably a perfect blend of male and female sensibilities, with both the masculine in its demand and the feminine in its open heart. As Rilke was in his first years raised, oddly enough, as a daughter--his mother had longed for one, and in something weirdly like denial, dressed her long-locked boy as a girl in dresses and called him Rene--so in later years, his father sent him to military school, to toughen him up and teach him a very male discipline. Rilke would find his own good mix. He fit neither of their plans, nor the conventional of a working society.

Poetry was his love for as long as memory, and in whatever context his life, it was the one steady rock. He could and would not do any other work, forever seeking sponsors and mentors so that he may devote himself fully to his art. When he fell in love for the first time, the woman he loved urged him to use the more masculine version of his name, Rainer. And so ever after, he did. But all of this seems like sideline matters, mere tangents, including the love itself, as he had numerous relationships, holding none steady, including a marriage that produced a child. Nothing else came first. Nothing. Only the word in verse.

When Rilke worked alongside sculptor, Auguste Rodin, he watched the sculptor's intensity and passion for his art, and was inspired. They were a match, if not in medium, then in devotion. This was how to live one's life as an artist. With a singular vision, an undistracted dedication. If Rodin created in stone, Rilke created in language, and so he sculpted verse, and in verse, his ongoing and lifelong prayer:

Only in our doing can we grasp you.
Only with our hands can we illumine you.
The mind is but a visitor:
it thinks us out of our world.

Each mind fabricates itself.
We sense its limits, for we have made them.
And just when we would flee them, you come
and make of yourself an offering.

I don't want to think a place for you.
Speak to me from everywhere.
Your Gospel can be comprehended
without looking for its source.

When I go toward you
it is with my whole life.

No doubt, God was listening and listens still. If most of us pray in stutters and whispers, Rilke prayed in lyrical poetry, from the heart to God's ear. Through his, the rest of us feel that much closer to the divine, as well.
Like new doesn't meet my defintion  Jun 26, 2008
Excellent condition of the physcial book but writing on many pages of the previous owner's thoughts which interfer with the experience of reading without preconceptions.
Disappointment  Jan 12, 2008
This work is the result of two poet/translators wanting to ride Rilke's coattails. Read the other one- and two-star reviews. They are more insightful that the gushy five-stars and more accurate. I am adding my 2 cents just to echo their thoughts. This book was disappointing after reading other. more credible translations of Rilke.
Rilke is timeless  Nov 1, 2007

Rilke's Book of Hours; Love Poems to God is a beautiful work of art comprised of both original German text and English translation by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy. Each poem is of honesty and discovery of the spiritual world. Rilke's work is always unique, and his style is simple on the page, yet complex in meaning. He takes the reader's mind and heart to deep, dark places by exploring God and fate and everything in between. He asks questions and answers them as well. Rilke has always been one of my favorite poets because of how closely I relate to his poetry. It is very moving and full of metaphors that take my breath away.
When Rainer Maria Rilke was in his twenties, he visited Russia (a milestone in the poet's life), and was inspired by many spiritual encounters. As soon as he arrived back to Germany, he gathered many poems from his writings while in Russia to form The Book of Hours. When Rilke was a young boy, his mother used to call him Sophia and dress him up in girl's clothing because she was traumatized by the death of her baby daughter. He had a dark childhood because of his mother, but it was she who forced him to write poetry, and it soon became his passion. His parents forced him into military school in order to become an officer, but he soon left the academy and pursued a literary career at Charles University in Prague. He published three literary works while at the university before he left for Munich. His poetry and letters have made Rilke one of the best poets of the twentieth century.
I have heard often how one Rilke poem has changed people's lives or has given them hope. This particular book has introductions of each translator where they specifically tell how Rilke's poetry touched their lives. Rilke's Book of Hours is split into three sections: The Book of Monastic Life, The Book of Pilgrimage, and The Book of Poverty and Death. While all sections are brilliant and inspiring, my personal favorite is The Book of Monastic Life. None of his poems have titles, only numbers to separate them. There are so many poems that touch the depths of my heart. In one poem Rilke writes:

it will be brought forth into day
by the river that mines
the silences of stone

Even when we don't desire it
God is ripening. (I,16)

This is an example of how enlightening and spiritual Rilke's poetry is. If nothing else, this book will give hope and comfort. It lets people know they are not alone in their thoughts or ideas. His honesty and insight is combined with beautiful language set Rilke apart from any other poet. In another poem, Rilke writes:

I want to know my own will
and to move with it.
And I want, in the hushed moments
when the nameless draws near,
To be among the wise ones -
or alone.

I want to unfold.
Let no place in me hold itself closed,
for where I am closed, I am false.
I want to stay clear in your sight... (I, 13)

This is a poem where Rilke lets himself go as he flows across the page. His breath and truth that flow ever so gently speak of innocence and courage. Rilke never holds back. His poetry is timeless.

Glad to have the German alongside the translated poems  Jan 2, 2007
As previous reviewers have noted, _Rilke's Book of Hours_ has its shortcommings, most notably the way in which the poems have been translated. While I am more forgiving of the translations than others, it is valid concern.

First, the German - Rilke's poetry is spiritually transcendent, moving and sublime. This collection is marvelous. However, the translations are a bit sticky. Certainly some slack must be given anyone who translates literature, poetry especially so. And while I was not happy to see some of Rilke's poems "reinterpreted," the translators were quite upfront and honest with their intentions.

Certainly purists will take issue with the English translations. Nonetheless, I found this a wonderful, beautiful collection of spiritually moving and thought-provoking poems.

Write your own review about Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

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