Selected Short Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated from the German by Tilo Ulbricht

Rainer Maria Rilke, amongst the most frequently translated poets from German, is nevertheless widely considered one of the most difficult poets to translate. But, affirms Tilo Ulbricht, this apparent paradox can be resolved by approaching Rilke’s poems with a very different kind of attention from that accorded by most translators. In the introduction to this volume, he writes: “The translator, guided by the words of the poem, needs to listen inside, to the sound from which the poem was born.” 

Ulbricht has spent over seven decades listening to Rilke in this way, in the original German. After encountering one disappointing translation after another, he began to translate Rilke himself into English. 

Here he has translated sixty of “Rilke’s most Rilkean shorter poems”, which span the poet’s twentieth year to mere days before his death at the age of fifty-one. In these poems, Ulbricht seeks out the “eternal, unchanging reality” that a poet experiences before the words are set down; Rilke’s profound insights are thus transmitted with a clarity that is rare for even this poet in translation. The result is akin to an Old Masters painting after cleaning, illuminating the spiritual qualities of the poems that have previously been obscured.

Rainer Maria Rilke
 (1875–1926) is one of the most influential figures in modern European poetry and German literature.

Tilo Ulbricht
was born in Germany in 1928 and immigrated to England with his parents. A lifelong poet, he presided over a London poetry group that performed and published its work regularly for several years. He is a former editor of the magazine Parabola, now in its fiftieth year.



ISBN 9781911475651 – Paperback – 210mm x 160 mm – 160 pages
 – £4.99