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Thanks to a residency at EcoHealth, my verse these days finds inspiration in the specter of future pandemics; for my dissertation at LMU München, where I tutor composition and edit a poetry weekly, I'm anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson's sonnets—I also teach at MVHS and lead the Amerikahaus Literary Circle.


The Death of the Poet

by Rainer Maria Rilke,
translated by Mark Olival-Bartley

There he lay. His pale face, propped up, then fell
to balk at the steepness of the pillow
as the world and what of it one can know
were being ripped from his senses ever so,
relapsing through a year of listless hell.

Those who saw him then did not know the grace
with which he was at one with all of this—
because this:  This depth, this meadow, and this
water transmogrified his deluged face.

On his face, there came indeed a vast tide
wanting him and looking for him with care;
his mask is, with the fear no longer there,
as tender and open as the inside
of a fruit spoiling in the outside air.

Der Tod des Dichters

von Rainer Maria Rilke

Er lag. Sein aufgestelltes Antlitz war
bleich und verweigernd in den steilen Kissen,
seitdem die Welt und dieses von-ihr-Wissen,
von seinen Sinnen abgerissen,
zurückfiel an das teilnahmslose Jahr.

Die, so ihn leben sahen, wußten nicht,
wie sehr er Eines war mit allem diesen;
denn Dieses: diese Tiefen, diese Wiesen
und diese Wasser waren sein Gesicht.

O sein Gesicht war diese ganze Weite,
die jetzt noch zu ihm will und um ihn wirbt;
und seine Maske, die nun bang verstirbt,
ist zart und offen wie die Innenseite
von einer Frucht, die an der Luft verdirbt.

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