Originallly published as four clothbound editions (The Roses and The Windows, The Astonishment of Origins, Orchards, and The Migration of Powers), this large paperback brings together all of Rilke's French poems, as well as his hitherto unpublished Dedications and Fragments, in an exquisite English translation by A. Poulin, Jr.
Before Poulin's important efforts, it wasn't widely known that Rilke—often deemed one of modernity's finest writers for his work in German—also wrote over 400 poems in French. These lyrics were composed toward the end of Rilke's life, after he had produced his masterworks, The Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus. Yet the French poems are entirely of a piece with Rilke's characteristic themes, subjects, moods, and images. As Poulin notes in his Preface: "The French lyrics [are] small poems of careful attentiveness to the things of this world [and] to the elusive states of being in which the world is poetically transformed."