Orpheus: A Version of Raine Maria Rilke Hardcover – 5 Oct 2006
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About the Author
Don Paterson was born in Dundee in 1963. He works as a musician and editor, and teaches at the University of St Andrews. He has written four collections of poetry: Nil Nil, Gods Gift to Women (winner of both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize), The Eyes and Landing Light (winner of the Whitbread Prize for Poetry and the T. S. Eliot Prize). He lives in Kirriemuir, Angus.
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Top Customer Reviews
Paterson puts his finger on it in his excellent argument for versioning, pointing out that our words don't just denote, but connote our thoughts, and reminding us that there is significance in both of these functions. This is something that a mere translation might disregard.
Whether we need these two distinct terms for the rendering of foreign thoughts is a fair debate, but I think most readers of translated poetry are sufficiently aware that to approach the original, they'd need to learn a whole language (and way of life). The poet's assertion here is that the spirit is his priority, though the sonnet form might retain the semblance of the source material; moreover, he's happy for us to know.
To review this with reference to Rilke's original would be a stuffy exercise, and I'm in no position to. I prefer to respond as my senses prompt me, and to treat this as a wholly new work. It smells like one to me.
The language isn't the easiest, nor the metre straightforward, but this is by no means inaccessible work. Frequently it combines brevity with profundity.
I bookmarked The Venturers (p54) and Change (p21), but there are numerous highlights. They are their own best recommendation.