Poems from the Book of Hours (Paperback)

By Rainer Maria Rilke, Babette Deutsch (Translated by), Ursula K. Le Guin (Introduction by)

New Directions, 9780811227582, 64pp.

Publication Date: January 23, 2018

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (7/15/2016)
Paperback (1/17/1975)

List Price: 12.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


One of the most powerful poetry collections of the twentieth century, now in a beautiful new edition 

Although The Book of Hours is the work of Rilke’s youth, it contains the germ of his mature convictions. Written as spontaneously received prayers, these poems celebrate a God who is not the Creator of the Universe but rather humanity itself and, above all, that most intensely conscious part of humanity, the artist. Babette Deutsch’s classic translations—born from “the pure desire to sing what the poet sang” (Ursula K. Le Guin)—capture the rich harmony and suggestive imagery of the originals, transporting the reader to new heights of inspiration and musicality. 

About the Author

RAINER MARIA RILKE (1875–1926) is one of the greatest poets who ever wrote in the German language. His most famous works are Sonnets to Orpheus, The Duino Elegies, Letters to a Young Poet, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, and The Book of Hours.

Babette Deutsch (1859–1982) was a poet, critic, and novelist, as well as a translator.

Praise For Poems from the Book of Hours

If Rilke cut himself shaving, he would bleed poetry.
— Stephen Spender

Rilke remade the sturdy sonnet, recast the sonorous song. He quickened the
German language itself.
— Rika Lesser

Poets in English continue to line up for the inevitable failure of translating
Rilke’s short lyrics. The best translations I have seen are from Babette
— Clive James