The enduring power of Rainer Maria RilkeGCOs poetry rests with his claim that all we need for a better life on earth is already given to us, in the here and now. In twenty-six engaging and accessible essays, Ulrich BaerGCOs The Rilke Alphabet examines this promise by one of the greatest poets in any tradition that even the smallestoverlooked word may unlock lifeGs mysteries to us.Fueled by an unebbing passion and indeed love for RilkeGs poetry, Baer examines twenty-six words that are not only unexpected but also problematic, controversial, and even scandalous in RilkeGs work. In twenty-six mesmerizing essays that eschew jargon and teutonic learnedness for the pleasures and risks of unflinchingly engaging with a great artistGs genius, Baer sheds new light on RilkeGs politics, his creative process, and his deepest and enduring thoughts about life, art, politics, sexuality, love, and death.The Rilke Alphabet shows how RilkeGs work provides an uncannily apt guide to life even in our vexingly postmodern condition. Whether it is a love letter to frogs, a problematic brief infatuation with Mussolini, a sustained reflection on the Buddha, the evasion of the influence of powerful precursors, or the unambiguous assertion that freedom must be lived in order to be known, RilkeGs writings pull us deeply into life.BaerGs decades-long engagement with Rilke as a scholar, translator, and editor of RilkeGs writings allows him to reveal unique aspects of RilkeGs work. The Rilke Alphabet will surprise and delight Rilke fans, intrigue newcomers to his work, and deepen every readerGs sense of the power of poetry to penetrate the mysteries and confusions of our world.
Fordham University Press