AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books

50 Books: Book 22

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Duino Elegies, Rainier Maria Rilke

What to say about this?  I don't think I'm going to compel you to read it, with anything I can say about it.  It's sort of the kind of thing you'd be inclined to read or not.  I read it several years ago, but it mention in Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife  brought it back to mind so I dug it out and re-read it.  I can't really remember my initial response on my first reading, but here I found it made me very melancholy and reflective.  Rilke's depression is very visible here and affecting, at least to me.  His calls to angels and queries about them are very much in line with my own thinking.  For me it isn't just poetry but rather I find my response it is so visceral that it's hard to talk about, hard to recommend.  I do wish my German was better. I read the English and then fought my way through the German, armed with the translator's interpretation, which was good, but I always feel like maybe I'm missing some subtle but necessary part. In conclusion, you'll like Rilke or you won't.  You won't know until you try.  I hope you do.

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