New translations of Rilke

My new translation of a book of Rilke's poems, PRAYERS OF A YOUNG POET, is now out in a revised paperback edition (Paraclete Press, 2016).  These were poems Rilke initially entitled THE PRAYERS, and gave as a gift to his beloved Lou Andreas-Salome. 

This is the first time these poems--among which are many of his most well-known and beloved--will be published in this original version.  Rilke eventually gathered these poems as the first part of what became THE BOOK OF HOURS, calling this collection "The Book of Monastic Life."  Several of these poems, including "The Hour" and "I Live My Life," are available on this website.

You can find this book at your local bookstore, or by ordering it through


Together with these poems, this volume includes an new introduction as well as a new Afterword, introducing these poems and Rilke's poetics.

Early praise for this collection:

"This extraordinary early-draft form of some of Rilke's most famous poems somehow evokes, for me, Leonardo Da Vinci's notebooks--it shows the same mix of surety, roughness, genius, and the sense of precipitous creative speed. Rilke's poetry always reminds us what a direct pondering of intimacy and depth might look like--an increasingly necessary invitation. I am most grateful for these muscular translations, and also Mark Burrows's extended introductory comments, offering entrance to a body of work until now unavailable to English-language readers."

     Jane Hirshfield, author most recently of COME, THIEF. POEMS (Knopf, 2012)

 "A powerful alchemy of the heart."  Bill Moyers

"How perfect that Mark Burrows is as fine a scholar as he is a poet. His understanding of "the young poet" is subtle and rare; his knowledge of Rilke's language and intentions is rich and deep. It's incredible that it's taken so long to have these Prayers in a single song as they were intended, but every line in this exquisite collection rewards the wait."
     Dr Stephanie Dowrick, author most recently of IN THE COMPANY OF RILKE
                (Penguin, 2011) and SEEKING THE SACRED (Penguin, 2012)
"Prayers of a Young Poet is a hauntingly beautiful book.  Mark Burrows' splendid translation renders the passion and the pathos of the anonymous hyoung monk who sings these love songs to the Lord and somehow speaks our hidden desire.  In these pages, Rilke dances in the dark to the tune of his own poems, his reluctant partner the elusive God he woos.  The effect is irresistible:  an invitation to join in the dance no reader can refuse."
      Angela Alaimo O'Donnell, poet and author of Saint Sinatra and Other Poems

"Rilke's praying monk begins with the time-honored conventions of his religious tradition, then moves beyond them to the dark silencesof forest and dream where God waits to be discovered anew.  In these startling poemsbrought to us in Mark Burrows' lucid translation, metaphor gives way to metaphor, as eachverbal foray into the divine courts a mystery that can be approached but neither comprehended nor defined."
       Dr. Peter Hawkins, Professor of Religion and Literature, Yale Divinity School