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Rainer Maria Rilke
Luke Fischer has been writing poetry since a relatively early age and has combined this deep engagement with ongoing academic studies in philosophy, along with an interest in music. His first collection of poetry Paths of Flight (Black Pepper, 2013) has been widely regarded as an outstanding debut and was commended in the FAW Anne Elder Award. In 2013, with his wife Dalia Nassar, Luke initiated the highly esteemed Poetry and Music Salon in North Bondi. The private salons have also led to public iterations, including: ‘Poetry and Music Salon: Do Poets Tell the Truth?’ at the 2014 Sydney Writers’ Festival and ‘Poetry and Music Salon: Poetry vs Prose’ at the 2015 Sydney Writers’ Festival.
Rilke’s poetry is known for its brilliance and individuality and, to an extent, for its variability. His early work is largely of a neo-Romantic and religious temper, suffused with generalisations and subjective gestures that frequently strain after significance. Nevertheless, he produced some important early poetry, most notably in his three-volume Book of Hours. In these works, ways of seeing, perceiving and understanding the world are already critical questions for him. However, had these poems been all he left to posterity, he would not now be a household name.
Among the most extreme, in the sense of horrific, writing places for poems bequeathed to us would be the conditions in which Ezra Pound produced The Pisan Cantos. There is some speculation as to the exact number of those Cantos …
These poems instantiate a significant cross-cultural and intermedial dialogue between West and East, Europe and Asia, sculpture and poetry, the founder of Buddhism and a Modernist poet. Rilke’s interest in the Buddha was stirred by an Indonesian statue in Auguste Rodin’s garden in Meudon which the French sculptor had procured (along with other Buddha statues) from the 1900 World Expo in Paris.