Before Poulin’s important efforts, it wasn’t widely known that Rilke‰ÛÓoften deemed one of modernity’s finest writers for his work in German‰ÛÓalso wrote over 400 poems in French. These lyrics were composed toward the end of Rilke’s life, after he had produced his masterworks, The Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus. Yet the French poems are entirely of a piece with Rilke’s characteristic themes, subjects, moods, and images. As Poulin notes in his Preface: “The French lyrics [are] small poems of careful attentiveness to the things of this world [and] to the elusive states of being in which the world is poetically transformed.”
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