Saturday, November 4, 2017

What would it take to be free?

We often use the word freedom, but what would it really mean to be free? At the age of 21, Lou Salome described the life she planned to live:

        What I shall quite certainly do is make my own life
        according to myself, whatever may come of it. In this
        I have no principle to represent, but something more
        wonderful--something that is inside oneself and is
        hot with sheer life, and rejoices and wants to get out.

But, as time went by, she learned that some things that stand in the way of freedom are, like "sheer life," within ourselves. Her lifetime as a seeker, leading to encounters with Nietzsche, Rilke and Freud, is the subject of a new film by Cordula Kablitz-Post. It will be released soon by Cinema Libre Studios.

Alexander Scheer (Friedrich Nietzsche) and Katharina Lorenz (Lou Andreas-Salome); photograph by Sebastian Geyer

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Rilke at the movies

Carla Juri as Paula Modersohn-Becker and Joel Basman as Rilke in 'Paula'

Rainer Maria Rilke may be one of the twentieth-century writers least likely to appear on a movie screen: his poetry is lyrical, even ephemeral and not theatrical in the least.

Rilke cherished solitude as a vital prerequisite for his work, though it meant living apart from his wife and daughter much of the time. Many of the poet's other important relationships were conducted largely through the mail. Not the stuff of great cinema, one might think.

Despite this, two new German film biopics feature Rilke as a main character. I reviewed them in the November/December 2016 issue of PN Review.

Monday, June 27, 2016

A woman who set her own course

Lou Andreas-Salome (1861-1937) was one of the most influential European intellectuals of her day and a confidante of Nietzsche, Rilke and Freud. A new film by Cordula Kablitz-Post tells the story of her extraordinary life. I reviewed the film for World Literature Today:

Read the review here.

Photo credit: Sebastian Geyer/avanti media fiction

Friday, January 1, 2016

New poetry from both sides of the Atlantic

Rebecca Perry

In the new issue of The Manhattan Review, I look at Rebecca Perry's debut collection, Beauty/Beauty, and new books by Greta Stoddart, Neil Shepard and Martha Kapos.

Review the review here.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A love relived and other poems

Sally Read

In the new issue of The Manhattan Review, I look at new collections from four poets: Jody Bolz and Angie Estes from the United States, Sally Read from Britain and David McLoghlin from Ireland.

In Jody Bolz's Shadow Play, which she describes as "a novella in verse," a middle-aged woman imagines her way back to a past marriage, asking herself what it can tell her about her life now.

Read the review here.