Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) wrote The Sonnets to Orpheus in February 1922 as a memorial for Vea Ouckama Knoop, a young girl who had hoped to become a dancer. He met her before the Great War in Munich and, through corresponding with her mother, learnt the circumstances of her death aged nineteen from leukaemia. The work was written rapidly, in two creative bursts at Chateau Muzot, his recently acquired residence near Sierre in Switzerland. In between writing the two parts he worked on the Duino Elegies, which he now found himself able to complete ten years after beginning them. In a note Rilke recorded that the penultimate poem of each part of The Sonnets to Orpheus is ‘To Vera’.
Softback / 96pp