Friday, 10 September 2010

Poetry Hunt

If you were struggling to choose a poetry book to read, you might find this article in the Guardian and the readers' comments helpful. I think there are loads of really good suggestions there - volumes I know and love, some I've never heard of, but now feel inspired to seek out.
One such poem which I just tracked down this morning is this by Rilke, translated from German by Stephen Mitchell. Follow this link and you'll also find an illuminating commentary on the poem by Mark Doty. And some links to Mark Doty's poems - which are also worth a look! I always was a big fan of treasure hunts! 

Archaic Torso of Apollo
We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,
gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.
Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur:
would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.
Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Stephen Mitchell


  1. Thanks for that link, I enjoyed the article and reading all the suggestions.
    much love martine

  2. you're welcome - they're good aren't they! Quite exciting!