Synopses & Reviews
While visiting Russia in his twenties, Rainer Maria Rilke, one of the twentieth century's greatest poets, was moved by a spirituality he encountered there. Inspired, Rilke returned to Germany and put down on paper what he felt were spontaneously received prayers. Rilke's Book of Hours is the invigorating vision of spiritual practice for the secular world, and a work that seems remarkably prescient today, one hundred years after it was written.
Rilke's Book of Hours shares with the reader a new kind of intimacy with God, or the divine—a reciprocal relationship between the divine and the ordinary in which God needs us as much as we need God. Rilke influenced generations of writers with his Letters to a Young Poet, and now Rilke's Book of Hours tells us that our role in the world is to love it and thereby love God into being. These fresh translations rendered by Joanna Macy, a mystic and spiritual teacher, and Anita Barrows, a skilled poet, capture Rilke's spirit as no one has done before.
At the beginning of this century, a young German poet returned from a journey to Russia, where he had immersed himself in the spirituality he discovered there. He "received" a series of poems about which he did not speak for a long time - he considered them sacred, and different from anything else he ever had done and ever would do again. This poet saw the coming darkness of the century, and saw the struggle we would have in our relationship to the divine. The poet was Rainer Maria Rilke, and these love poems to God make up his Book of Hours.
About the Author
Anita Barrows, a prize-winning poet and a clinical psychologist, is the author of two books of poetry and a recipient of an NEA grant and the Quarterly Review of Literature
's Contemporary Poetry Award. She has been a professional translator for more than twenty years.
Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self, is a scholar of systems theory and Buddhist thought. Her work on the interface between social action and spiritual breakthrough has long been inspired by Rilke's Book of Hours.