Translated from the German by Gary Miranda
80 pages / $17.00
80 pages / $30.00
Begun in 1912, interrupted by the Great War, and completed early in 1922, the ten meditations on love and death in Rilke’s Duino Elegies are perhaps the twentieth century’s most sustained outpouring of lyricism. Abstract, allusive, and rich with imagery, this sequence has been attempted by many translators. Gary Miranda’s 1981 version, reprinted here in a revised and expanded edition, is unsurpassed in rendering the challenging German text as a lucid and elegant poem in English.
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) is one of the most celebrated poets of the twentieth century. Rilke was born in Prague, lived throughout Europe, and spent his final years in Switzerland, where he wrote the Duino Elegies. He died of leukemia in December 1926.
Gary Miranda was born in Bremerton, Washington, in 1938 and raised in the Pacific Northwest. After three years in Greece as a Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Athens, he lived in the Boston area for six years before returning to the Northwest to serve as poet-in-residence for five years at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where he currently lives. Miranda’s poems have appeared in journals including The New Yorker, Poetry, Atlantic Monthly, and American Poetry Review, and have received numerous awards and wide critical praise. His poetry collections include Listeners at the Breathing Place (Princeton University Press, 1979), nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, Grace Period (Princeton University Press, 1983), and Turning Sixty (Zoland Books, 2003).
"Rilke speaks through Gary Miranda as through a microphone, with an unprecedented combination of utterly transfixing clarity, propulsive urgency, and emotive concentration. Nowhere else in English—nowhere else—have the Elegies achieved such unrelenting, enveloping intensity. This is a mind- and life-altering book. Much more than a translation, this is a work of total reincarnation."
— Malachi Black