Cover Image: Poems to Night

Poems to Night

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Member Reviews

I was so excited to read this book and have to be honest and say I was expecting great things. I expected a huge connection and for the poems to speak to me.

They were good, short and succinct but didn't connect with me as I had hoped. 

I even left it and went back because I do believe we are sometimes a lot more receptive but sadly this was not the case for me.
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22 poems translated into English for the first time, The original works written over a century ago. Unfortunately, this just wasn't the right kind of book for me, it was not really a collection that I felt overly invested in as the poetry wasn't overtly anything at all. It just is.
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Fantastic read!! Thank you NetGalley and Pushkin Press for the eARC of Poems to Night. To me this book was full of magic and I love it. Very elegant, simple and light. Every poem feels like a magical spell in the night.
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A lovely little book of a selection of Rilke's poems touching on some aspect of "night," with a nice introduction and a short biographical section at the end. Very enjoyable.
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While I haven't consistently read Rainer Maria Rilke I have encountered his poems and other writings frequently. I will see snippets of it here or there and it always ends up hitting close to home. So I jumped at the chance to get into his poetry proper, to see how they connected to each other and to, hopefully, gain  a clearer understanding of Rilke as a poet.  Also, look at that cover, how am I supposed to resist that. Thanks to Pushkin Press and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

In his introduction, Will Stone tries to place these poems in the wider oeuvre of Rilke's poetry. Written around the same time as his Duino Elegies, these poems are taken from a notebook gifted to Rudolf Kassner. Late night is the perfect time for this, when everything is dark and quiet and you can just be and ponder without interruptions. For me, night has always been calmer than day. Moonlight and starlight are infinitely preferable to sunlight. Not to quote The Hobbit movies but for me starlight is memory and is precious, and night allows me to ponder and consider in the way the day doesn't. Just as night allows one the freedom to roam, so Rilke's poems cover a variety of themes and ideas, lingering on them but not belabouring them. As Stone argues, these poems feel like 'a clandestine text, and resist any assured interpretation'. Rilke isn't aiming towards one message or one theme. Rather, Poems to Night roam freely but all carry an equal emotional weight. There is a desire for connection, but also a desire to live freely and to not be constrained. The below line is an example of that:

'Overflowing skies of squandered stars splendour over grievance. Rather than into pillows, weep upwards.'

Just like midnight ponderings, Rilke's thoughts and poems leap wildly. They are not restricted to specific rhymes or rhythms but rather speak strongly to the soul. They are not long and ponderous, strangled in metaphors but rather flow smoothly. Will Stone surely did an excellent job translating this flow to retain Rilke's seeming effortlessness and inspiration. Stone's introduction provides an excellent background to Rilke's creative process and the circumstances in which this collection came into existence, namely Rilke's displacement due to WWI. It explains the lack of permanence and the evanescence of night that dominates the poems. Although the poems aren't easy to understand at first glance and although they may require some perseverance and patience, they are stunning once you let them work on you. 

Rilke's Poems to Night are beautiful and presented beautifully in this edition. Stone's translation and introduction are illuminating and anyone with a love for poetry will greatly enjoy this.
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A good collection for those who like longer poems/feelings of the early 20th century. Some really nice poems. A small selection of poems - not huge.
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A beautiful, thought-provoking collection of poetry all centered around "night." This was my introduction to Rainer Maria Rilke and I am very interested in reading more of his poetry. Sparsely but powerfully worded.
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I struggled with these poems a little.  While they do have a haunting beauty to them they are too religious for me, some of them felt very sermon like. 

I did enjoy the biography section of the poet and that increased my appreciate of the poems.
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I absorbed this all in just one sitting. I found Rilke’s words washed over me, a beauty weaved within them. 
I could see this book being referred to again and again, slowly picking through his words and their meanings... committing various passages to heart. One that would have its rightful place on the shelves of a home library.
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Poems to Night is a new English translation of Rilke’s 1916 collection of poems themed around the night. It includes the twenty-two poems of the “Poems to Night” collection, as well as seven draft poems from the same collection and another fifteen poems and fragments on the theme of night. Most of the poems were written during the same period as “Duino Elegies,” which is one of Rilke’s most beloved collections. The period in which the collection was being composed was a tragic one for Rilke. He was trapped by the war in Germany (while he was born in Prague, he’d been living in France at the time) and all his possessions [in France] were disposed of by his landlord.

He had a bit of military service, and — though it was a desk job — he wasn’t cut out for it. And he had an intense affair with a French artist. The poems mix imagery with a heavy dose of strategic ambiguity — leaving the possibility for the poems to be interpreted in various ways. One might suspect a collection themed around the nighttime and written by a German in the midst of life crises would be deadly morose, but I felt that Rilke balanced the more somber elements with beauty and vibrancy. The poems felt more like a reach for catharsis than a wallowing in suffering (a fault of many poets, in my opinion.) I found this collection to be evocative and mind-expanding. I’d highly recommend it for readers of poetry.
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Poetry in translation is notoriously difficult to evaluate unless one is fluent in both languages. Having only the experience of reading some of Rilke’s other work in translation, I will say this volume seems to need context. The introduction certainly helps in this regard.  Still, the American English-speaking audience will probably be academics. There is much to contemplate and study, but the verses lack either the form or the lyricism that seems to appeal to contemporary American readers of poetry.

Thank you to Folio Society and NetGalley for an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.
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What a nice collection of inspiring poems from an important poetic voice. Lots to think about here.  I haven’t read Rilke in a while and I found this was a great path back to his work.
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I have been a fan of this author since I read Letters to a Young Man when I was in college. So I was excited to see a new collection of his poetry.

This is a short book. Nearly a quarter of it is actually an introduction into the creation, translation, and publication of this collection. The short collection of poetry, including drafts and fragments, are  all centered around the theme of night. And the last little bit is biographical notes.

A lot of these poems are more of a lyrical prose kind of poetry, with a lilting rhythmic cadence which would have been well served as an audiobook.

I will freely admit that I sometimes don’t fully understand the meanings of his poems, but I still appreciate the artistry of his work. I find specific lines and phrases that I feel a connection to, but sometimes it’s like picking out grains of sand from a beach too vast towards the horizon for me to fully grasp. And that’s okay. I plan on rereading this soon, and going back to some of Rilke’s other works.
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Poems to Night is the first time Rilke's Night poems have been published in their entirety, translated in English. In 1916, Rilke presented his friend and fellow writer Rudolph Kassner the twenty-two poems in a handwritten notebook. 

Rilke wrote the poems between January 1913 and February 1914, during the same time he was working on the Duino Elegies, which has been my favorite volume of poetry for over forty years. And of the elegies, the eighth is my favorite; it was dedicated to Kassner.

In the Introduction, Will Stone confesses that the Poems to Night "possess the aura of a clandestine text, and resist any assured interpretation." 

Which is a great relief to me, baffled as I have been by these verses. Each reading further reveals the arc of Rilke's vision, how the poems reflect his basic understanding. The experience of being human and finite, and aware of the vast mystery beyond, is the bedrock of Rilke's poetry.

I read the Poems of Night, and read them again. I  reread portions of Rilke's biography and a fiction novel of his life to understand Rilke at the time he wrote these poems. 

Rilke arouses feelings in me, with certain lines flashing out like neon, and yet to understand his meaning seems to always hover beyond my full grasp. I struggle with the poems, eliciting more from the lines with every reading. His poetry is so unique to his own world view.

There is the theme of alienation, how humans can never fully connect. And how humans are concerned with the temporal and trivial, "seduced" by the world. Above the world is night, the realm of angels, a sacred otherness which we long to encounter and yet "renounce."

The ending lines are powerful.

Lifting one's eyes from the book, from the close and countable lines, to the consummate night outside: O how the compressed feelings scatter like stars, as if a posy of blooms were untied...Everywhere craving for connection and nowhere desire, world too much and earth enough. (Paris, February 1914)~from Poems to Night by Rainer Maria Rilke

Drafts of the Night poems are also presented, along with snippets from his other works that include the theme of Night, and biographical notes on Rilke's life. He was abroad when WWI broke out, unable to return to his Paris apartment. He lost all his manuscripts, books, and personal belongings, including photographs of his family. When he presented the notebook of poems to Kassner, he was in the military working as a clerk.

Poems to Night is a significant addition to Rilke's published works that will interest his legion of readers as well as all lovers of poetry.

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.
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This was my first experience with Rilke’s work, and it just wasn't for me. I finished the work because the page count was short, and I thought there would be at least one poem I could relate to… that didn’t happen.  Even though I did not enjoy this, I hope others do.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Pushkin Press for an advanced copy of “Poems to Night” in exchange for an honest review.

While I have read translated letters by Rilke in the past and thoroughly enjoyed and been inspired by them, this was my first time diving into a larger collection of his translated poetry.

I will say that I loved the introduction composed by Will Stone. At times I find introductory sections to be written in a cold and clinical way, but Stone’s introduction clearly demonstrates his passion for his translation work, as well as Rilke’s life and writing. He is eloquent and educated but still in an approachable way, and I was struck by that. To be honest, it may have been one of my favourite parts of the book.

As for the collection, there were certainly poems and imagery that stood out more than others. It’s difficult because night was obviously an overwhelming theme in Rilke’s writing, but the consistent theme and imagery of night, stars, and angels also cause some of the poems to run together in my remembering of the book. I think what would be ideal is dividing the works into their further themes to help make the poems more distinguishable.

The poems that especially drew me in were “The Siblings,” “Strong, silent, candelabra placed,” “Let him be what you will,” “Straining so hard against the powerful night,” “Overflowing skies of squandered stars,” “Is pain - as soon as the ploughshare,” and “Lifting one’s eyes from the book, from the close and countable lines.”

What I feel these works have in common are that they had additional imagery apart from the above mentioned that made them distinct to me. Additionally, the poems in which Rilke is lamenting about death, grief, pain, and feeling more futile and transitory were the ones I connected with more.

I think this is a collection I would like to revisit in print form rather than an ebook version. At this time, I didn’t feel as drawn in and focused when I was reading it as I thought I would be, but I still found beauty in sections of the book.
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This edition by Pushkin Press and translated by Will Stone, presents the twenty-two poems in one volume translated into english for the first time.

It is divided into:
Poems to Night, drafts of Poems to Night, and further poems and sketches related to the Night.

I have read some of Rainer Maria Rilke's poems before, so when I saw this book about the "night theme" it immediately called my attention. Although, I couldn't find what I was expecting. It's hard to explain why, but I just can say that I haven't been able to really feel what they say.

Thanks to Pushkin Press and NetGalley for providing me with this e-arc in exchange for my honest review.
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I do not usually purchase books of poetry anymore, or really read more than the occasional one off. But this book spoke to me! I love Rainer Maria Rilke's work. I especially love a whole book of it!
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Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this poetry collection.

Rainer Maria Rilke's Poems to Night is a stunning exploration of sorry and mystery. I have read Rilke's works before and really enjoyed this collection and I am glad it is available for audiences to enjoy.
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I absolutely love poetry, and love even more the theme of ‘Night’. I was very excited to receive this book of poetry dedicated solely to Night, in return for a review.

I have always felt drawn to the night time, when I am sad, angry, upset or even happy I feel the need to go for a walk in the dark, or to take a drive and sit in the dark somewhere and just be at one with the great universe. This poetry ,all exploring themes of nighttime seems to portray this inner lust for the nighttime in the same manner. I really enjoyed the different elements of the night, from the feelings of great vast nothingness, to the ethereal and almost divine.

My favorite line: “Overflowing skies of squandered stars splendour over grievance. Rather than into pillows, weep upwards. Here, at the weeping, at the ending face, proliferating, begins the enraptured world space. Who will interrupt, if you thrust that way, the flow? No one.”

This was a great little compilation of poetry from Rainer Rilke and I enjoyed the journey.
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