Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), one of the greatest German-language poets, is among the key figures in modern Western literature. The Neue Gedichte (New Poems of 1907-8 are some of the freshest and most accessible of his works. For some months during 1905-6 Rilke had acted as secretary to Auguste Rodin, and the great sculptor's example can be seen in the shape and texture of the Neue Gedichte. 'Rilke,' writes John Bayley in his introduction, 'is one of those rare poets who seem not so much to create as to reveal.'
Stephen Cohn's outstanding translations of Rilke's New Poems, Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus (all available from Carcanet Press) have become celebrated for their creative response to the subtlety and complexity of the original poems.