Mark Burrows recently published a new translation of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poems; the volume, entitled Prayers of a Young Poet, is now available (Paraclete Press, 2013). These poems represent the first version of what later became Part I of The Book-of-Hours; these poems are here translated into English for the first time. Poet and translator Jane Hirshfield wrote, of this volume: “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 like like. I am most grateful for Mark Burrows’ extended introductory comments, offering entrance to a body of work until now unavailable to English-language readers.”
Burrows is also bringing out the first English translation of poems by the distinguished Iranian-born poet who goes by the name SAID. A political refugee first from the Shah’s regime and later from the current theocratic government of the Islamist Revolution, SAID is among the most celebrated poets writing in German today. The volume, entitled 99 Psalms, is a collection of short prayers that probe the depths of the hope that rises from exile, struggle, and alienation. Five of these poems were featured in the March, 2012, translation issue of Poetry magazine.
Burrows is currently living and teaching in Germany. In the coming summer, he will be writer-in-residence at the Santa Fe Art Institute under the auspices of a “Witter Bynner Fellowship.”