Release date

June 2022


Kearns, Howard & Walker


1 lbs. 5 oz.

The Master's French Solace: THE ROSES by Rainer Maria Rilke, a new English translation of poems Rilke composed originally in French.

THE ROSES, a series of poems by Rainier Maria Rilke, is a gift of solace offered in a new book by poet, N. M. Hoffman, and painter, Gloria Matuszewski. The book is comprised of Rilke's original French, a new English translation and visual images that heighten the beauty of the text.

The many French poems of famed German-language poet Rainer Maria Rilke have been underserved both in French and in translation. This new book, THE ROSES, endeavors to address that for 27 of the poet's poems originally written in French, here with a new English translation by the poet, N.M. Hoffman.

In an age requiring so much of it, Solace is the force that exudes from these poems. It is a kind of Solace that replicates the Solace enforced by Time, but by means of a cinematographic intimacy with the life of the Rose that startles us from our instant grief. The Rose is, after all, close to us at every turn, in every season. The poet takes us by the hand into his garden and there we are mesmerized by the personal life of the Rose, its extraordinary elegance, reticence, exoticism. In contemplating the Being of the Rose, the reader endures a grief subsumed into a process that is primordial, even shamanistic, but which is always the provenance of the poet.

It is also the provenance of the visual artist who is able to render this intimacy in psychological terms for the mind to grasp through the eyes. In the images supplied for this book by the painter, Gloria Matuszewski, the eerie singularity of the Rose is vivified, a melding of what is spiritual, gestural and contextual. In Matuszewski's work, the figure of the Rose lives tangentially with everyday life. In this complicity, the images embrace the complexities of Rilke's Roses and give them a solidity that, with the text, provides a grounding for the exorcism of grief. These images have provided the way forward in understanding the poems and, without them, this book -- a tribute and a memorial to those unique individuals we have lost -- would never have come into being.