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The Dark Interval: Letters on Loss, Grief, and Transformation (Modern Library Classics)

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From the writer of the classic Letters to a Young Poet, reflections on grief and loss, collected and published here in one volume for the first time. “A great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins “A treasure . . . The solace Rilke offers is uncommon, uplifting and necessary.”––The Guardian Gleaned from Rainer Maria Rilke’s voluminous, never-before-trans From the writer of the classic Letters to a Young Poet, reflections on grief and loss, collected and published here in one volume for the first time. “A great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins “A treasure . . . The solace Rilke offers is uncommon, uplifting and necessary.”––The Guardian Gleaned from Rainer Maria Rilke’s voluminous, never-before-translated letters to bereaved friends and acquaintances, The Dark Interval is a profound vision of the mourning process and a meditation on death’s place in our lives. Following the format of Letters to a Young Poet, this book arranges Rilke’s letters into an uninterrupted sequence, showcasing the full range of the great author’s thoughts on death and dying, as well as his sensitive and moving expressions of consolation and condolence. Presented with care and authority by master translator Ulrich Baer, The Dark Interval is a literary treasure, an indispensable resource for anyone searching for solace, comfort, and meaning in a time of grief. Praise for The Dark Interval “Even though each of these letters of condolence is personalized with intimate detail, together they hammer home Rilke’s remarkable truth about the death of another: that the pain of it can force us into a ‘deeper . . . level of life’ and render us more ‘vibrant.’ Here we have a great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins “As we live our lives, it is possible to feel not sadness or melancholy but a rush of power as the life of others passes into us. This rhapsodic volume teaches us that death is not a negation but a deepening experience in the onslaught of existence. What a wise and victorious book!”—Henri Cole


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From the writer of the classic Letters to a Young Poet, reflections on grief and loss, collected and published here in one volume for the first time. “A great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins “A treasure . . . The solace Rilke offers is uncommon, uplifting and necessary.”––The Guardian Gleaned from Rainer Maria Rilke’s voluminous, never-before-trans From the writer of the classic Letters to a Young Poet, reflections on grief and loss, collected and published here in one volume for the first time. “A great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins “A treasure . . . The solace Rilke offers is uncommon, uplifting and necessary.”––The Guardian Gleaned from Rainer Maria Rilke’s voluminous, never-before-translated letters to bereaved friends and acquaintances, The Dark Interval is a profound vision of the mourning process and a meditation on death’s place in our lives. Following the format of Letters to a Young Poet, this book arranges Rilke’s letters into an uninterrupted sequence, showcasing the full range of the great author’s thoughts on death and dying, as well as his sensitive and moving expressions of consolation and condolence. Presented with care and authority by master translator Ulrich Baer, The Dark Interval is a literary treasure, an indispensable resource for anyone searching for solace, comfort, and meaning in a time of grief. Praise for The Dark Interval “Even though each of these letters of condolence is personalized with intimate detail, together they hammer home Rilke’s remarkable truth about the death of another: that the pain of it can force us into a ‘deeper . . . level of life’ and render us more ‘vibrant.’ Here we have a great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins “As we live our lives, it is possible to feel not sadness or melancholy but a rush of power as the life of others passes into us. This rhapsodic volume teaches us that death is not a negation but a deepening experience in the onslaught of existence. What a wise and victorious book!”—Henri Cole

30 review for The Dark Interval: Letters on Loss, Grief, and Transformation (Modern Library Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Rainer Maria Rilke wrote over fourteen thousand letters during his lifetime to anyone who was close to him, anyone with whom he felt a connection, and this included those who contacted him after reading one of his works. Rilke considered his letters to be as significant as his more formal writings, and academics believe the letters to be even more accessible for the general reader. Spiritually, Rilke believed that we should make sense of, or make peace with, our circumstances while living. He fe Rainer Maria Rilke wrote over fourteen thousand letters during his lifetime to anyone who was close to him, anyone with whom he felt a connection, and this included those who contacted him after reading one of his works. Rilke considered his letters to be as significant as his more formal writings, and academics believe the letters to be even more accessible for the general reader. Spiritually, Rilke believed that we should make sense of, or make peace with, our circumstances while living. He felt strongly that we should live fully in the now, in both the good and dark times. The preface is an exceptional introduction to Rilke’s work and his beliefs, values, and points-of-view. In fact, the author of the preface used Rilke’s words to make sense of the loss of his own father. He felt the words were a companion to him in his grief. In short, Rilke’s philosophy is to focus on moving with and through the pain of loss rather than trying to overcome it. If we focus solely on overcoming loss, we do not acknowledge the loved one we are missing, and we do not allow ourselves to be shaped by what we learned while grieving. Folks, this is deep and meaningful, almost overwhelming in its depth. Like all of us, I have experienced tragic losses in my lifetime, and I seek out knowledge and texts on grief and loss to both help me as I continue to move through my own feelings (and hopefully grow), but also to help connect me to others who are moving through similar experiences. It is not something that is ever complete. I cannot check off that box. Grief has been a part of my life and will continue to be, as difficult as that is for me to write. Rilke’s words resonate fervently with me, as I, too, believe that grief is a process that we must walk though. And through his profound words, I am opened up to many more opportunities for personal growth and introspection. The Dark Interval is a book that I had to read slowly and savor. It requires thought and reflection, but the benefits of that were tremendous. I highly recommend it to anyone who has experienced loss. It is not heavy, or difficult, other than in the weight of your own self-reflection. Thank you to Random House for the ARC. This Dark Interval will be published on August 14, 2018. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !! ”When the weight of all my dreams Is resting heavy on my head And the thoughtful words of help and hope Have all been nicely said But I'm still hurting, wondering if I'll ever be the one I think I am--I think I am. “Then you gently re-remind me That You've made me from the first And the more I try to be the best The more I get the worst. And I realize the good in me is only there because of who You are, who You are. And all I ever have to be is what You've made me” All I Ever H !! NOW AVAILABLE !! ”When the weight of all my dreams Is resting heavy on my head And the thoughtful words of help and hope Have all been nicely said But I'm still hurting, wondering if I'll ever be the one I think I am--I think I am. “Then you gently re-remind me That You've made me from the first And the more I try to be the best The more I get the worst. And I realize the good in me is only there because of who You are, who You are. And all I ever have to be is what You've made me” All I Ever Have to Be,Amy Grant, Songwriters: Gary Winthur Chapman ”At the time of his death in 1926 at the age of fifty-one, Rilke had written more than fourteen thousand letters, which the poet considered to be as significant as his poetry and prose.” Born René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke, better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, a man who has written one novel, several poetry collections, and a collection of some of his correspondence is included in this collection. An author that I have meant to read for too long, and have now read this one collection of correspondence. Included are over twenty letters of condolence, which serve as a reminder of the value and lessons of life, among them the tenuous nature of life, and the inevitability of loss. And yet, these are so elevating and inspiring that it never feels burdened with the sorrow, although it is acknowledged as a necessary part, perhaps even an enriching part of the journey through loss. There is a sense of Rilke’s genuine closeness with the recipient, an intimacy with their emotional constitution, what they must be feeling, and what they need to hear, that elevated these letters from a formal note of condolence to ones are personally felt. From the very first letter in the collection to the last, this is just lovely, and wise, and wonderful. Highly recommended Pub Date: 14 AUG 2018 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group – Random House / Modern Library

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    After witnessing my mother’s death last month, I found myself asking: how do you reconcile such a transformative event when you don’t have faith to lean on? What does it all mean? I found the answers in Ranier Maria Rilke’s letters on loss, grief and transformation, which is surprisingly accessible and unsurprisingly well-crafted. Rilkie believes that between the two notes of birth and death we pass through “the dark interval” – a separation that, if we allow it to, contributes to life as a beaut After witnessing my mother’s death last month, I found myself asking: how do you reconcile such a transformative event when you don’t have faith to lean on? What does it all mean? I found the answers in Ranier Maria Rilke’s letters on loss, grief and transformation, which is surprisingly accessible and unsurprisingly well-crafted. Rilkie believes that between the two notes of birth and death we pass through “the dark interval” – a separation that, if we allow it to, contributes to life as a beautiful song. Death, in Rilkie’s view, is not something to avoid or fear but contributes to an intensely lived life. He writes, “Death does not exceed our strength” and urges the recipients of his letters to not withdraw in bitter loneliness from life but to remain in life, using the pain to forge another path back. While he does not sugarcoat the raw pain that comes from loss, he urges his his readers to use pain to actively transform life. Moving forward, in Rilke’s view, is to move with and through the pain rather than overcoming it. Religious tenets that strongly suggest that our loved one is “beyond” makes the deceased less approachable and real; rather, Rilke believes we are never closer to the loved one than when we carry him or her inside us, in our hearts. He writes, “Nature…has all the power to heal as long as one does not eavesdrop or interrupt it.” The lengthy prologue by academic Ulrich Baer is a reason in itself to read this book, as he captures the essence of what Ranier Maria Rilke is saying. While this book may not appeal to staunch religious advocates, it is a much-needed read for anyone trying to find meaning and comfort in the unknowable.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    Rilke writes compassionately and directly about grief to friends who have suffered losses. His kindness and willingness not to just evade the subject reaches across the years. I think people who have suffered loss will find comfort in the words, but also those of us who struggle to know what to say may find some ideas.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Rainer Maria Rilke wrote over 14,000 letters before his tragic death from leukemia at age fifty-one, we are informed in the Preface to The Dark Interval. This volume consists of two dozen of Rilke's condolence letters, newly translated and gathered into one volume. Also included is a letter Rilke wrote to his Polish translator in which he discusses the themes communicated in his poetry. The letters convey Rilke's philosophy of accepting death as part of existence, embracing the pain, and ensurin Rainer Maria Rilke wrote over 14,000 letters before his tragic death from leukemia at age fifty-one, we are informed in the Preface to The Dark Interval. This volume consists of two dozen of Rilke's condolence letters, newly translated and gathered into one volume. Also included is a letter Rilke wrote to his Polish translator in which he discusses the themes communicated in his poetry. The letters convey Rilke's philosophy of accepting death as part of existence, embracing the pain, and ensuring that we never truly lose loved ones, they are always with us and their work becomes our work. I was in my late 20s when I picked up Rilke's slim volume Letters to a Young Poet. I kept the book close, often rereading it, and I gave copies to friends. I added Rilke's poetry to my shelves. I will never forget sitting on the cliffs of Mt. Desert Island, under blue skies with gulls circling overhead, the rushing sea and lobster boats below, and opening for the first time Duino Elegies to read Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the Angelic Orders? And even if one were to suddenly take me to its heart, I would vanish into its stronger existence. For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, that we are still able to bear, and we revere it so, because it calmly disdains to destroy us. Forty years later I still return to Rilke again and again, struggling to understand the letters and poems that have moved me so. I had no idea that The Dark Interval would offer so many answers. I read a letter at a time, for Rilke's original ideas take concentration and thought. These are letters I will read and reread. On the death of Countess Alexandrine Schwerin's father Rilke wrote, "...have faith in what is most horrible, instead of fighting it off--it reveals itself for those who can trust it," for "death is only a relentless way of making us familiar and even intimate with the side of our existence that is turned away from us." To Nanny Wunderly-Volkart he wrote, "We have to get used to the fact that we rest in the pause between two of God's breaths: for that means: to be in time...The brief time of our existence is probably precisely the period when we lose all connection to him and, drifting apart from him, become enmeshed in the creation which he leaves alone." To Countess Margot Sizzo-Noris-Crouy on the death of her mother, Rilke wrote, "...we should make it our deep and searing curiosity to explore such loss completely and to experience the particular and singular nature of this loss and its impact within our life." He again mentions death as the side of life "permanently turned away from us, and which is not its opposite but its complement to attain perfection, consummation, and the truly complete and round sphere and orb of being." Death is a friend, he consoles, the true yes-sayer. In another letter to the Countess he writes about life's horrors and the unity of bliss and horror as "two faces of the same divinity" as the meaning of his Sonnets to Orpheus. Rilke's letter to Witold Hulewiz, who translated Rilke's writing into Polish, he addresses the central theme of "the affirmation of life-and-death," death being the "side of life turned away from us." "Transience everywhere plunges unto a deep being," he wrote Hulewiz. The angel of the Elegies "is that being which vouches for the recognition of the invisible at a higher order of reality." Rilke states that his angels are not biblical but is "that creature in whom the transformation of the visible into the invisible...appears already consummated." And that is what terrifies we mortals so for we cling to the visible world. As Letters to a Young Poet can help us learn how to live, The Dark Interval can show us how to accept the mystery of the future which we cannot see or know. The title The Dark Interval comes from a poem in Rilke's Book of Hours which ends, I am the rest between two notes That harmonize only reluctantly: For death wants to become the loudest tone-- But in the dark interval they reconcile Tremblingly, and get along. And the beauty of the song goes on. I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    This is a short collection of letters from Rilke to his various friends and acquaintances following the death of a loved one. They contain his thoughts on death as a side to life not to shy away from, and his attempts to encourage them to see “the unity of the horror and the bliss”. Thoughtful and insightful.

  7. 4 out of 5

    lucy✨

    5 stars It would be impossible for me to put into words the impact this collection has had on me, so instead of a review I will give you some quotes that resonated with me. If you want to face your own grief and become acquainted with it, I would recommend Rilke’s letters to help you do this. “No constellation is as steadfast, no accomplishment as irrevocable as a connection between human beings which, at the very moment it becomes visible, works more forcefully in those invisible depths where our 5 stars It would be impossible for me to put into words the impact this collection has had on me, so instead of a review I will give you some quotes that resonated with me. If you want to face your own grief and become acquainted with it, I would recommend Rilke’s letters to help you do this. “No constellation is as steadfast, no accomplishment as irrevocable as a connection between human beings which, at the very moment it becomes visible, works more forcefully in those invisible depths where our existence is as lasting as gold lodged in stone, more constant than a star.” “Where things become truly difficult and unbearable, we find ourselves in a place already very close to its transformation.” “In my case what had died for me, so to speak, had died into my own heart.” “We, who live here and now, are not for a moment satisfied in the time-world nor confined in it; we incessantly flow over and over to those who preceded us, to our origin, and to those who seemingly come after us.”

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sumirti Singaravel

    My life is not this steeply sloping hour Through which you see me hasten on. I am a tree standing before my background I am the rest between two notes That harmonize only reluctantly: For death wants to become the loudest tone— But in the dark interval they reconcile Tremblingly, and get along. And the beauty of the song goes on. My dad passed away last November, and as fate had it scripted, I was the only one who happened to be near him in the odd hours of the night when his frail body that has My life is not this steeply sloping hour Through which you see me hasten on. I am a tree standing before my background I am the rest between two notes That harmonize only reluctantly: For death wants to become the loudest tone— But in the dark interval they reconcile Tremblingly, and get along. And the beauty of the song goes on. My dad passed away last November, and as fate had it scripted, I was the only one who happened to be near him in the odd hours of the night when his frail body that has fought a fierce battle against the looming weight of death gave away its last grip, and he heaved his final breath. I remember feeling his warm hands encircled within my fingers turning cold as ice, so much that the coldness began to spread to my limbs, thighs, waist, and to my heart. And it stuns me that another a November has come and the world rushes to mark the one year death anniversary for my dad when I am still there, near him, holding his hands, crying out in vain, and requesting him repeatedly to come alive, one more time. Just one more time. Time does not heal. Rather it boxes the memory to be left untouched and it makes me throw myself to my routines. It asks me to laugh, smile, and spread love when the memories keep stored up behind the rumbling business of every day, in silence, while the nights act as a secret vault where I would reopen the memories to live in them and be with the man I love dearly. Just one more time. In the initial days after the passing of my dad, I always believed that the engulfing grief would just dissolve as days go by. That's what I am told. "You keep learning. You keep inventing yourself. Move on. You will forget all these". Consolations, endearings, sweet notes, hugs come with the single message that somehow the fact of the death would just vanish away and one day I would return back to my normal life. I believed in all the consolations. But, grief works differently. It changes its terms, shapes, forms. And, it remains. The absence of the loved one strikes you when you least expect it. You might be prepared to meet the life's grand challenges without them; the long hard ones. But where would you turn to when life throws at you the pencil lines drawn by them on the sides of a book? Or when you realize that the way you carry your coffee mug is as same as the man who made you? Or those long night you remain wide awake because you want to share something so impersonal as a poem with a man whom you are sure would love it as much as you do? Grief is an island. You belong there as its sole citizen. Even those who love you so much may not know what you suffer. Because what you lost upon the death of someone you love is something so precious, private, and an invisible space shared by two individuals in their own world. An inch towards the grave yet miles away from reaching your loved ones again. That's grief. At least to me. After my dad's death, I read a lot to negate the fact of facing anything sad or would bring back my reality stark in front of me. I avoided books, movies, songs that would push me into a whirl of sadness. I laughed, dressed well, worked, traveled across boundaries. But, a year after, I am again here at the point where I started. But this time with the book of Rilke in hand. Of all the writers I read, Rilke is the one who understands loss and gives me words that I have lost. The language of grief is so serenely mute that sometimes even the one who survives the loss cannot understand what happens to them because articulation fails. The identification of the process of grief, the narration of its process, acknowledging the strangeness, the forever alteration left by death on life are never put in words or we don't consume them when we are busy living otherwise. Rilke draws the picture of grief here. He gives the shades it's missing, draws a fair identification of its boundaries (and acknowledges it's boundness), takes away the strangeness surrounding the most embarrassing topic - death, and most importantly he makes grief life-affirming. 'Liberation' is the word that came to my mind after I finished reading this book. Liberation not from the grief or the long mourning for my dad, but rather I have at last found a refuge to take shelter. And, this refuge is neither dogmatic as religion or bumptious as the move-on attitude or sentimental in its aggregation of values. Rilke's wisdom asks us to take life in all its dimensions - in its sadness, grief, loss, death - so that life could be lived in depth and not grassed on the tip of its surface. As he aptly puts in, "Death is the highest mark etched at the vessel's rim; we are full whenever we reach it, and being full means (for us) a feeling of heaviness, that something is difficult.....that's all." The beauty of the book lies in the fact that it invents a language to the grief and sometimes reinvents a different perception to deal with it, face to face, just as we dare deal with our lives. One of the most rewarding reads I have done in recent times. A book that has helped me find words to assuage a troubled heart and a mind that misses someone so much. Much grateful.

  9. 5 out of 5

    muthuvel

    I read this letter collection very slowly. Only a letter or two everyday. Letters of him written to his long time acquaintances, past passionate lovers, mistresses, muses, friends. Reread a few passages and lines. Highlighted and mused over them for hours some days. And this journey had to end briefly with the realization of mine that there are so much to explore, so much to experience - love, heartbreaks, parting of close ones, friends and fam that whatever happens it moves on. It has got to. N I read this letter collection very slowly. Only a letter or two everyday. Letters of him written to his long time acquaintances, past passionate lovers, mistresses, muses, friends. Reread a few passages and lines. Highlighted and mused over them for hours some days. And this journey had to end briefly with the realization of mine that there are so much to explore, so much to experience - love, heartbreaks, parting of close ones, friends and fam that whatever happens it moves on. It has got to. Not in a delusional optimistic or through abstracting things into cynical patterns which I don't know what to call it yet it made me feel there's a way. Its like you're looking at the mirror and it shows everything that's you. All the beliefs, faults, wounds, scars and patches, delusions, joys, hatred and just that you're aware, and so it makes you move on. Maybe I'm just blabbering and failing to express that somehow Rilke makes life more bearable. "..I am trying nothing more but to be close to you with these simple words...for nobody comes close to true assistance and consolation, except by an act of grace."

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jane Glossil

    Rilke's character and wisdom shine through all these letters. He offers no consolations, yet his acknowledgment of the loss and his kinship translate a coaxing for the grievers to find their way through this dark interval. Rilke's distinct and consistent tone stirs the heart of the reader and serves as a guide towards that learned resilience and unhurried transformation. Rilke's character and wisdom shine through all these letters. He offers no consolations, yet his acknowledgment of the loss and his kinship translate a coaxing for the grievers to find their way through this dark interval. Rilke's distinct and consistent tone stirs the heart of the reader and serves as a guide towards that learned resilience and unhurried transformation.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Grief is something that almost everyone will experience to some degree or another in their lifetime after the loss of a parent, partner or another close relative. Each person has to deal with it in their own way; anger, sadness, tears, withdrawal and melancholy and it leaves a lasting effect on your psyche, something that you get past, but never over. Until The Dark Interval dropped on my doormat last week I had never come across Rainer Maria Rilke, but according to the research that I have done Grief is something that almost everyone will experience to some degree or another in their lifetime after the loss of a parent, partner or another close relative. Each person has to deal with it in their own way; anger, sadness, tears, withdrawal and melancholy and it leaves a lasting effect on your psyche, something that you get past, but never over. Until The Dark Interval dropped on my doormat last week I had never come across Rainer Maria Rilke, but according to the research that I have done since reading this he is a lyrical and intense poet who travelled through a number of European countries before settling in Switzerland. He was also an extensive writer of letters and the ones that comprise this short collection that he wrote to his friends and acquaintances to provide comfort and solace to them in their moments of need. Death does not exceed our strength They have been sifted from the vast collection of letters and translated for the first time into English by Ulrich Baer. In each letter, you hear his clear but sympathetic voice as he tries to bring the recipient back to a world away from the pain they are feeling and to use it to forge a new path back to life. There is genuine compassion in his words to all those that he writes to, and it is his words today that can still offer a much needed reassurance to those in their moments of need.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Catie

    "There is death in life, and it astonishes me that we pretend to ignore this: death, whose unforgiving presence we experience with each change we survive because we must learn to die slowly." "If people took some simple pleasure in reality (which is entirely independent of time), they would never have needed to come up with the idea that they could ever again lose anything which they had truly bonded. No constellation is as steadfast, no accomplishment as irrevocable as a connection between human "There is death in life, and it astonishes me that we pretend to ignore this: death, whose unforgiving presence we experience with each change we survive because we must learn to die slowly." "If people took some simple pleasure in reality (which is entirely independent of time), they would never have needed to come up with the idea that they could ever again lose anything which they had truly bonded. No constellation is as steadfast, no accomplishment as irrevocable as a connection between human beings which, at the very moment it becomes visible, works more forcefully in those invisible depths where our existence is as lasting as gold lodged in stone, more constant than a star." "But as to the influence of the death of someone near on those he leaves behind, it has long seemed to me that this ought to be other than a higher responsibility." "Don't believe that something that belongs to our pure realities could drop away and simply cease." "All of our true relationships, all of our enduring experiences touch upon and pass through everything, through life and death." "I think we have to experience boundlessness through our incapacity to measure even the measurable." "Each time we tackle something with joy, each time we open our eyes toward a yet untouched distance, we transform not only this and the next moment, but we also rearrange and gradually absorb the past inside of us." "I always think that such a great weight, with its tremendous pressure, somehow has the task of forcing us into a deeper, more intimate layer of life so that we may grow out of it all the more vibrant and fertile." "One must let life run its course. The human being destroys so many things on his own, and it is not in his power to restore anything. Nature, by contrast, has all the power to heal as long as one does not eavesdrop or interrupt it." "It still seems to me that the most wonderful thing in life that the blunt and rough nature of any intrusion and even an obvious disturbance can become the occasion to create a new order within ourselves." "Where things become truly difficult and unbearable, we find ourselves in a place already very close to its transformation." "We have been tasked with nothing as unconditionally as learning on a daily basis how to die. But our knowledge of death is enriched not by the refusal of life. It is only the ripe fruit of the here and now, when seized and bitten into, that spreads its indescribable flavor in us." "By way of loss, by way of such vast and immeasurable experiences as loss, we are quite powerfully introduced to the whole. Death is only a relentless way of making us familiar and even intimate with the side of our existence that is turned away from us."

  13. 4 out of 5

    Померанцевое

    "Time itself does not “console,” as people say superficially; at best it assigns things to their proper place and creates an order." - in a letter to Countess Margot Sizzo-Noris-Crouy, January 6, 1923 "I am trying nothing more but to be close to you with these simple words." - in a letter to Claire Goll, October 22, 1932 "When I looked for the person who had passed away, he gathered inside of me in peculiar and such surprising ways, and it was deeply moving to feel that he now existed only there." - "Time itself does not “console,” as people say superficially; at best it assigns things to their proper place and creates an order." - in a letter to Countess Margot Sizzo-Noris-Crouy, January 6, 1923 "I am trying nothing more but to be close to you with these simple words." - in a letter to Claire Goll, October 22, 1932 "When I looked for the person who had passed away, he gathered inside of me in peculiar and such surprising ways, and it was deeply moving to feel that he now existed only there." - in a letter to Countess Margot Sizzo-Noris-Crouy, January 6, 1923 "There should be no fear that we are not strong enough to endure any and even the closest and most horrible experience of death. Death is not beyond our strength, it is the highest mark etched at the vessel’s rim: We are full whenever we reach it, and being full means (for us) a feeling of heaviness, that something is difficult… that is all." - in a letter to Countess Margot Sizzo-Noris-Crouy, January 6, 1923 "Death, especially the most completely felt and experienced death, has never remained an obstacle to life for a surviving individual, because its innermost essence is not contrary to us (as one may occasionally suspect), but it is more knowing about life than we are in our most vital moments. I always think that such a great weight, with its tremendous pressure, somehow has the task of forcing us into a deeper, more intimate layer of life so that we may grow out of it all the more vibrant and fertile." - in a letter to Adelheid von der Marwitz, September 11, 1919

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    Sometimes brilliant with glimpses into Rilke’s belief in living in the now and embracing all of what life offers, even the suffering in the death of a loved one, as that is where the source of beauty, growth and appreciation reside. A message that I did appreciate as I come to terms with the recent death of my own mother. I say glimpses because that was all they were. Much of his letters, particularly the end ones were about his other works and explaining some of his beliefs, which I think were Sometimes brilliant with glimpses into Rilke’s belief in living in the now and embracing all of what life offers, even the suffering in the death of a loved one, as that is where the source of beauty, growth and appreciation reside. A message that I did appreciate as I come to terms with the recent death of my own mother. I say glimpses because that was all they were. Much of his letters, particularly the end ones were about his other works and explaining some of his beliefs, which I think were about experiencing his consciousness, though I’m not 100% sure because some of it went over my head. As someone who has read a number of books on Avaita Vedanta I do see similarities in the teachings. I also see differences. I can’t help but think this was perhaps not the best book to start with Rilke’s works and I believe if a person appreciated the works he references, Elegies and Sonnets, they may have a better appreciation for this.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rory I Jagdeo

    Love this book...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    I feel so disappointed by this. Honestly, I am not terribly familiar with Rilke’s body of work. I first heard his name in seminary. He seems to be referenced often in broad spirituality discussions. When I saw this at the library, and working as a Chaplain, I had hoped to gain further perspective that might help me to help others. Despite the translator’s notes to provide some basic context for each letter, I simply found them lacking. I believe I understand Rilke’s basic premise regarding life/de I feel so disappointed by this. Honestly, I am not terribly familiar with Rilke’s body of work. I first heard his name in seminary. He seems to be referenced often in broad spirituality discussions. When I saw this at the library, and working as a Chaplain, I had hoped to gain further perspective that might help me to help others. Despite the translator’s notes to provide some basic context for each letter, I simply found them lacking. I believe I understand Rilke’s basic premise regarding life/death. However, what I took away from several letters was Rilke talking about his own difficulties and challenges and offering to send books to people. I tried to go back and read one or two a little slower to see if I could glean anything further, but alas it was not to be, at least for me. Perhaps if I were more familiar with Rilke, I either would have appreciated this more or not even picked it up.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nils

    Reading this began as homage and ended as therapy for me: “We have been tasked with nothing as unconditionally as learning on a daily basis how to die. But our knowledge of death is enriched not by the refusal of life. It is only the ripe fruit of the here & now, when seized & bitten into, that spreads its indescribable flavor in us.”

  18. 4 out of 5

    gwayle

    This book collects a handful of letters from Rilke to various recently bereaved correspondents. Rilke's main urging—and indeed solace—is that moving through pain—rather than walling it off—will ultimately bring you closer to life and love and the rest of it rather than isolating you from it. This is a worthy point, but it gets repeated again and again and again. The upside is that I'm now inclined to seek out and read/reread Book of Hours, Sonnets to Orpheus, and Duino Elegies. This book collects a handful of letters from Rilke to various recently bereaved correspondents. Rilke's main urging—and indeed solace—is that moving through pain—rather than walling it off—will ultimately bring you closer to life and love and the rest of it rather than isolating you from it. This is a worthy point, but it gets repeated again and again and again. The upside is that I'm now inclined to seek out and read/reread Book of Hours, Sonnets to Orpheus, and Duino Elegies.

  19. 4 out of 5

    linn

    i am in love with one (1) man and his writing

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Howdle

    Rilke was a prolific letter writer. Before his relatively early death at fifty one, he had written about fourteen thousand letters. Out of this vast correspondence, twenty four or so focus on death in one form or another, and it is these that are collected into "The Dark Interval". The title from Rilke's "Book of Hours" is probably the best phrase in the book. The editor, Ulrich Baer, introduces the volume by saying that the letters leap with spontaneity from the page. Some do, most do not. Rath Rilke was a prolific letter writer. Before his relatively early death at fifty one, he had written about fourteen thousand letters. Out of this vast correspondence, twenty four or so focus on death in one form or another, and it is these that are collected into "The Dark Interval". The title from Rilke's "Book of Hours" is probably the best phrase in the book. The editor, Ulrich Baer, introduces the volume by saying that the letters leap with spontaneity from the page. Some do, most do not. Rather like Rilke's more famous "Letters to a Young Poet", these too often begin with an apology for taking to long to respond. Rilke's "tardy pen" adds an unsettling note to the letters. What sort of consolation comes with a letter that has been unanswered for a long period of time? The letters are eloquent, what one would expect from a poet of Rilke's standing, but they are also dull: they quiver with fine phrases and that is about it. My eagerness to read this short book quickly evaporated.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Iphios

    Rilke is an author that I feel close to. He has pondered over the questions I ponder about. At times, he even have answers to my questions. Rilke's approach to life is delicate and pregnant with thoughtful wisdom. His words calm me. This collection of letters is reminiscent of his letters to the young poet---in its wisdom and consideration. I find that Rilke does not condescend in his letters but approaches the other with compassion. Rilke is an author that I feel close to. He has pondered over the questions I ponder about. At times, he even have answers to my questions. Rilke's approach to life is delicate and pregnant with thoughtful wisdom. His words calm me. This collection of letters is reminiscent of his letters to the young poet---in its wisdom and consideration. I find that Rilke does not condescend in his letters but approaches the other with compassion.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jaci

    I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Random House via NetGalley. The heartfelt but philosophical nature of Rainer Maria Rilke’s writing always stands out to me, but it stands out more so in this collection focused on grief. The book’s editor did an impressive job of both organizing the letters with helpful introductions and contextualizing them in a Preface that I recommend readers not gloss over. I am not new to Rilke’s work, having read several of his poetry and letter collections I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Random House via NetGalley. The heartfelt but philosophical nature of Rainer Maria Rilke’s writing always stands out to me, but it stands out more so in this collection focused on grief. The book’s editor did an impressive job of both organizing the letters with helpful introductions and contextualizing them in a Preface that I recommend readers not gloss over. I am not new to Rilke’s work, having read several of his poetry and letter collections. But this book differentiates itself with its treatment of its theme. Grief is a universal experience and emotion yet one that many find difficult to articulate. And anyone familiar with Rilke knows that he is a master of relating complex thought and entreating readers with compassion and action. His letters, addressed over the years to loved ones, friends, and acquaintances alike, all demonstrate a genuine desire to help alleviate the pain of missing a loved one while also working deeper meanings and philosophies throughout. Each letter is personal, reflective, and in some ways rhetorical. He uses the recipient’s loss as a way to help him or her explore not just death but also the Self. Rilke distanced himself from religions and philosophies that emphasized reliance on higher Beings and preferred to explore ways of empowering individuals and taking ownership of one’s life and direction. While this may seem a bit out of place when trying to comfort people in a time of loss, his approach actually comes across unique and empowering. Rilke has a way of offering comfort in his letters even as he grapples with sadness and the practicalities and disparities of grief. Poignantly, he explains that when a person dies, we are left to carry on with their tasks and carry out their legacy. But why, he asks, do we perceive this to be a negative or a burden? For Rilke, the people who we truly loved are within us and that we can carry on their life as part of our own, taking on their unfinished work and exploring the things that they would have wished for us to become. Rilke uses the death of loved ones as a means to remind us that these moments can be sad and empowering at the same time. We have a cause to get behind, a legacy to carry on, a meaning that does not leave when the people we love leave us. The things and people that are part of our lives and influence us can never end since they move forward within us. His unique way of viewing this as an honor and something that helps to demonstrate the bond we had with the person is enlightening. Throughout the letters, the theme of self-empowerment during times of sadness, rather than letting death and grief cripple you, is paramount. Rilke focuses on facing grief head on, almost emphasizing it rather than shirking from it, so that we can use it to power us forward rather than letting it hold us back. In this way, we can learn from those who have left us and have the stamina to carry out their legacy. His admonishments are frank at times, encouraging people to grieve but to carry on with life and warning them that we cannot stop moving forward. There are risks to surrendering to grief instead of allowing it to teach us and help us grow. I recommend this book for readers who would like an introduction to Rilke, as it demonstrates the range of his writing without becoming overly philosophical or difficult to follow. Readers familiar with Rilke’s work will also enjoy a departure from his typical form. And if you have never heard of Rilke but are working through loss or know someone who is, then this book may help shed some new perspective on your sorrows and help you as you work through a difficult time.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hagr

    [ I am certain that the content of all of the “initiations” anyone ever experienced was nothing but a “key” that allowed us to read the word “death” without negating it. Just like the moon, life surely has a side that is permanently turned away from us, and which is not its opposite but its complement to attain perfection, consummation, and the truly complete and round sphere and orb of being. There should be no fear that we are not strong enough to endure any and even the closest and most horri [ I am certain that the content of all of the “initiations” anyone ever experienced was nothing but a “key” that allowed us to read the word “death” without negating it. Just like the moon, life surely has a side that is permanently turned away from us, and which is not its opposite but its complement to attain perfection, consummation, and the truly complete and round sphere and orb of being. There should be no fear that we are not strong enough to endure any and even the closest and most horrible experience of death. Death is not beyond our strength, it is the highest mark etched at the vessel’s rim: We are full whenever we reach it, and being full means (for us) a feeling of heaviness, that something is difficult…that is all.—I do not mean to say that one should love death. But one should love life so generously and without calculating and selecting that one automatically always includes it (the half turned away from life) in one’s love, too. This is what actually happens each time in the vast movements of love, which cannot be arrested or contained! Only because we exclude death in a sudden fit of reflection has it become increasingly strange for us and, since we kept it at such a distance, something hostile.] " Transformed? Yes, for it is our task to imprint this provisional, perishable earth so deeply, so painfully and passionately in ourselves that its reality shall arise in us again “invisibly.” We are the bees of the Invisible. Nous butinons éperdument le miel du visible, pour l’accumuler dans la grande ruche d’or de l’Invisible. " "Just think of the “Sleeping Tree.” How good that I just thought of it. Think of all of the small pictures and their inscriptions—how, in your youthful innocent faith, you always recognized and affirmed both in the world: the sleeping and the waking, the bright and the dark, the voice and the silence…la présence et l’absence. All the presumed opposites which converge somewhere in one point where they sing the hymn of their union —and this place is, for the time being, our heart!" "And while I am completely engulfed in my sadness, I am happy to sense that you exist, beautiful one. I am happy to have flung myself without fear into your beauty just as a bird flings itself into space. I am happy, dear, to have walked with steady faith on the waters of our uncertainty all the way to that island which is your heart and where pain blossoms. Finally: happy." “Woe to those who have been consoled” comes close to what the courageous Marie Lenéru wrote in her remarkable and strange “Journal,” and here indeed consolation would be one of many distractions, a diversion, and thus at bottom something frivolous and unproductive. Time itself does not “console,” as people say superficially; at best it assigns things to their proper place and creates an order. And even this works only because later we pay so little mind and hardly give any consideration to that order to which time so quietly contributes, that instead of admiring everything that now softened and reconciled comes to rest in the great Whole, we treat it as the forgetfulness and weakness of our heart just because our pain is no longer as acute. Alas, how little the heart forgets—and how strong it would be if we did not stop it from completing its tasks before they have been fully and truly accomplished!—Not wanting to be consoled for such a loss: That should be our instinct. Instead we should make it our deep and searing curiosity to explore such loss completely and to experience the particular and singular nature of this loss and its impact within our life." How I wish I could post every word that Rilke wrote!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lisa-Michele

    Rilke, the poet, often wrote meditative letters to his friends when they lost someone dear to them. His collected letters shouldn't be read in one sitting, but are lovely when read individually. Even just the simplest prose of the letters makes me wish people still exchanged handwritten letters: "My joy at receiving your letter this morning was so great that I would have to quarry fifteen minutes out of even the most compressed time to compose a brief and grateful response..." Wow. The vocabular Rilke, the poet, often wrote meditative letters to his friends when they lost someone dear to them. His collected letters shouldn't be read in one sitting, but are lovely when read individually. Even just the simplest prose of the letters makes me wish people still exchanged handwritten letters: "My joy at receiving your letter this morning was so great that I would have to quarry fifteen minutes out of even the most compressed time to compose a brief and grateful response..." Wow. The vocabulary, the word choice, the absence of LOLs and exclamation points!  Beware, these letters are not full of consolation. Rilke expresses very strong feelings on death and usually advises his friends to lean in to the grief and embrace it: "Not wanting to be consoled for such a loss: that should be our instinct. Instead we should make it our deep and searing curiosity to explore such loss completely and to experience the particular and singular nature of this loss and its impact within our life." He expects a brave effort from us. He doesn't give simplistic answers or religious advice, but really digs into each person's situation and tailors his response to their particular loss. His main point usually centers on the fact that the dead person lives on in us and provides an imperative for our actions: "As long as our father is alive, we are after all a kind of relief set against him (hence the tragic dimensions of the conflicts.) It is only this blow that turns us into completely rounded figures, free and alas, freestanding on all sides…”

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    The poet Rainer Maria Rilke is famous for writing letters. The preface tells us that over the course of his short life, he wrote over 14,000 letters, which he himself considered as significant as any of his poetry or prose. This volume contains 23 letters that were written to friends, former lovers, and acquaintances about death, loss, grief and transformation. Rilke believed that you have to embrace and walk through the pain, rather than bury it or try to overcome it, to get to the point where y The poet Rainer Maria Rilke is famous for writing letters. The preface tells us that over the course of his short life, he wrote over 14,000 letters, which he himself considered as significant as any of his poetry or prose. This volume contains 23 letters that were written to friends, former lovers, and acquaintances about death, loss, grief and transformation. Rilke believed that you have to embrace and walk through the pain, rather than bury it or try to overcome it, to get to the point where you can begin to live your life again. He firmly believed in living in the moment, here and now, experiencing it to the fullest, whatever the circumstances. The preface is outstanding, and adds much in helping the reader to know more and Rilke and to better understand his writings. Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Modern Library for allowing me to read an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ali ♥

    How to properly express my thoughts on this... three words: touching, eye-opening and exceptional. Rainer Maria Rilke is clearly very passionate when it comes to writing letters and the significance of it to him is so personal that he’s written over 14,000 letters to anyone he knew during his lifetime. He wrote them in a way that’s generalized and speaks to anyone else who might read them. He creates the idea that despite everything, we should all focus on the present no matter how bad it gets. How to properly express my thoughts on this... three words: touching, eye-opening and exceptional. Rainer Maria Rilke is clearly very passionate when it comes to writing letters and the significance of it to him is so personal that he’s written over 14,000 letters to anyone he knew during his lifetime. He wrote them in a way that’s generalized and speaks to anyone else who might read them. He creates the idea that despite everything, we should all focus on the present no matter how bad it gets. He touches on topics like grief, growth, love and happiness. All the ups and downs of life and how we should cherish it no matter the circumstances. This was also so easy to get through and almost addicting. Rilke is beyond rich with his words and savoring it is really important.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jared Kassebaum

    If you're a fan of Letters to a Young Poet, this book is a beautiful topical book that delves into his thoughts on death, some of which is consolation and others more abstract. Many of the letters give his own thoughts on his latter poetry, Sonnets to Orpheus and Duinos Elegies, and hearing his thoughts on the latter was the best insight of the collection. His synthesis of life and death that renders death's power weak is the beauty of both this and the Elegies. As one confronted with the death If you're a fan of Letters to a Young Poet, this book is a beautiful topical book that delves into his thoughts on death, some of which is consolation and others more abstract. Many of the letters give his own thoughts on his latter poetry, Sonnets to Orpheus and Duinos Elegies, and hearing his thoughts on the latter was the best insight of the collection. His synthesis of life and death that renders death's power weak is the beauty of both this and the Elegies. As one confronted with the death of a close friend in college, this puts to words emotions I previously felt guilty for.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Sopko

    The dark interval in Rilke's poem refers to the space between birth and death... life. I took many notes from this lovely, tiny book, a collection of letters of consolation to friends which Rilke wrote in an effort to comfort and help them find meaning. As promised, it was a comfort to read. I copied many notes into my two volumes of Rilke's poetry, pouring over the poems again with new insight. What a treat! The dark interval in Rilke's poem refers to the space between birth and death... life. I took many notes from this lovely, tiny book, a collection of letters of consolation to friends which Rilke wrote in an effort to comfort and help them find meaning. As promised, it was a comfort to read. I copied many notes into my two volumes of Rilke's poetry, pouring over the poems again with new insight. What a treat!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Monisha Sharma

    The only words that make sense when you're grieving. A curious wonder at how words written so many years ago on loss/death still ring true today. Rilke in his letters, addresses various facets of the kaleidoscope of grief. Would recommend to anyone experiencing loss or to people who don't know how to help another through their grief journey. Please read this book, to learn what NOT to say to someone grieving. The only words that make sense when you're grieving. A curious wonder at how words written so many years ago on loss/death still ring true today. Rilke in his letters, addresses various facets of the kaleidoscope of grief. Would recommend to anyone experiencing loss or to people who don't know how to help another through their grief journey. Please read this book, to learn what NOT to say to someone grieving.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joyful Mimi

    I think this book is worth a read to gain his perspective of death. However, since these are letters of condolence to a variety of people, the reading becomes monotonous. The best Rilke, for me, was “Letters to a Young Poet” because he was developing his ideas over time rather than being monotonous.

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