Poet’s Collection Acquired/ Larkin-Inspired Exhibition – Poetry News Roundup December 5th

Our first news round-up of the week looks at an impressive collection linked to a poet acquired by an archive and a new Larkin-inspired exhibition.

Works by Modernist Poet Acquired by German Archive

A significant collection of manuscripts and letters that belonged to Rainer Maria Rilke, the modernist poet, has been given to the German Literature Archive (DLA), a public archive.

The collection, which is known as the Gernsbach collection, is the largest archive in the existence of work and letters linked to the poet, and it has been the property of private collectors for the last 100 years. It is described as the “acquisition of the century” by the director of the archive.

The hope is that the archive will now be able to put on a significant exhibition in 2025 in honour of the 150th anniversary of Rilke’s birth.

No information has been released about how much was spent on purchasing the collection, but it was made possible with the help of funds from the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the federal government and a number of private foundations.

The collection contains over 10,000 pages of handwritten notes and drafts of work, as well as 8,800 letters to and from the poet. Included amongst the letters are some from Lou Andreas-Salmone, Rilke’s long-time lover and his friend Paul Valery , the French poet.

There are also over 470 books that have been annotated by the poet, 131 drawings and over 300 photographs.

Rilke was born in 1875 and died in 1926. He is considered to have been one of the most significant writers in the German language of the modern era, alongside the likes of Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka. He lived in a number of different European countries during his lifetime and corresponded with many of the intellectuals of his time.

This collection is considered by experts of the German-language poet to be one of the most important legacies of his work in existence. The materials that form the collection were passed from the poet to his descendants upon his death, only becoming available to purchase following the death of his granddaughter. During the time that the collection was in her possession, the collection was kept in the town of Gernsbach in a private home, and the only people who were granted access were a select few experts.

The DLA is also hoping to digitise the archive materials in order to make them more accessible to the public and literary researchers.

Hi-tech Hull Exhibition Offers Chance to Immerse Yourself in the Poetry of Philip Larkin

A new exhibition opened over the weekend in Hull. The work of the duo behind the successful “Made in Hull” exhibition of 2017, the exhibition “Larkin’s Lighted Rooms: Love, Death and Hull” will be based in the James Reckitt Reading Room. It will offer visitors the opportunity to experience poems films, readings and music, all of which have been drawn from the life of the late poet.

There will be some items from the Philip Larkin estate that have been rarely seen, including photographs and letters that will also be on display.

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