Archive for 28. Januar 2016

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On the wing

When I started reading Dylan Thomas, the only real poetry I knew was Shakespeare’s. I was a teenager who loved the lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner and the Beatles, and my girl friend had just introduced me to the songs of Bob Dylan. I thought maybe a look at the Welsh poet’s work would help me understand some of Dylan’s more opaque images. So I found Thomas’s Collected Poems at the public library and went straight to the beginning:

I see the boys of summer in their ruin
Lay the gold tithings barren, … –



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Theodor Otto Richard Plievier (bis 1933: Plivier) (* 12./17. Februar[1] 1892 in Berlin; † 12. März 1955 in Avegno, Schweiz) war ein deutscher Schriftsteller. Bekannt wurde er vor allem durch seine Romantrilogie über die Kämpfe an der Ostfront des Zweiten Weltkriegs, bestehend aus den Werken Stalingrad, Moskau und Berlin.- wikipedia


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We have audio recordings of Tolstoy and Tennyson–even one of Robert Browning. But no recordings of Rainer Maria Rilke are known to exist, although he lived until 1926…

We do, however, have a vivid description of Rilke as a performer. Here is Marie von Thurn and Taxis‘ account of a reading he gave at her home in Lautschin, Bohemia in July 1911:

Rilke read in a very characteristic manner, always standing up, in a voice capable of infinite modulations, which sometimes rose to an amazingly sonorous volume, in a strange, singing tone that strongly stressed the rhythm.

It was entirely different from anything one had ever heard–startling at first, then wonderfully moving. I have never heard verse spoken more solemnly and, at the same time, with greater simplicity; one could have listened to him forever.

It was remarkable what long pauses he made. Then he would slowly bow his head, almost closing his heavy eyelids, and one could hear the silence, as one hears the pauses of a Beethoven sonata.- diehoren


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