Rainer Maria Rilke

(4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926 / Prague / Czech Republic)

Rainer Maria Rilke
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René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke (German pronunciation: [ˈʁaɪnɐ maˈʁiːa ˈʁɪlkə]), better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, was a Bohemian-Austrian poet. He is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language. His haunting images focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety: themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets. He wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose. Among English-language readers, his best-known work is the Duino Elegies; his two most famous prose works are the Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical Notebooks... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''He reproduced himself with so much humble objectivity, with the unquestioning, matter of fact interest of a dog who sees himself in a mirror and thinks: there's another dog.''
    Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), German poet. Letter, October 23, 1907. Letters on Cézanne (1952, trans. 1985). On Cézanne.
  • The great renewal of the world will perhaps consist in this, that man and maid, freed of all false feelings and reluctances, will seek each other not as opposites, but as brother and sister, as neighb...
    Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), German poet. Letter, July 16, 1903. Letters to a Young Poet (1934, rev. 1954).
  • ''Not since Moses has anyone seen a mountain so greatly.''
    Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), German poet. Quoted in Rilke, Letters on Cézanne, foreword (1952, trans. 1985). Remarking on Cézanne's picture of ...
  • Just as the creative artist is not allowed to choose, neither is he permitted to turn his back on anything: a single refusal, and he is cast out of the state of grace and becomes sinful all the way th...
    Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), German poet. Letter, October 23, 1907, to his wife. Rilke's Letters on Cézanne (1952, trans. 1985).
  • ''Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further.''
    Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), German poet. Letter, June 24, 1907, to his wife. Rilke's Letters on Cézanne (1952, trans. 1985).
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Comments about Rainer Maria Rilke

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  • Elisabeth Steichen (11/14/2018 5:33:00 PM)

    where is you don't have to understand life listed

  • Susan Carr (10/4/2018 2:34:00 PM)

    I'm looking for a poem that includes the wonderful line: and God explodes from his hiding place.

  • lilie (9/19/2018 11:34:00 AM)

    what is the Rilke poem about a couple in love but not totally blended....united but separated at the same time...

  • Eric Buttonwood (8/30/2018 4:11:00 AM)

    What is the Rilke poem about the old men of the sea who have survived manifestations of the feminine, harpies, gorgons, sirens, and now live crippled, defeated and in awe?

  • Charles (8/26/2018 9:21:00 PM)

    Liselotte, I think maybe God speaks to each of us is the one which you seek.

  • Houstonbob (8/2/2018 2:44:00 PM)

    does anyone have Rilke's poem, The Garden of Olives?

  • Liselotte (7/9/2018 12:50:00 PM)

    I am searching a poem of Rilke, wehre God spoke to the the soul, befor beeinflusst born

  • Ray A Burleigh (6/20/2018 3:05:00 PM)

    Thank you for having these gorgeous, sometimes indescribable poems here for us. He is trying for things just beyond our reach. What a magnificent heart! ! ! !

  • SOBHA (4/23/2018 1:17:00 AM)

    FEATURES OF RILKE'S POETRY

  • Catherine Clark (1/30/2018 3:40:00 PM)

    I am searching for Rainer Maria Rolke's beautiful poem written about the liquid-filled eyes of the dumb animals at the manger adoring the Christ child.

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Best Poem of Rainer Maria Rilke

A Walk

My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance-

and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.


Translated by Robert Bly

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