The Hölderliniae

The Hölderliniae

Nathaniel Tarn


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The great German Romantic poet Friedrich Hölderlin’s spirit infuses this gorgeous cycle of poems that sing of the loves and devastations of our times

The thirty hymns of The Hölderliniae are inspired by the intricacies and transcendent humanity of Beethoven’s last quartets. Nathaniel Tarn’s new book opens with a biographical note on the “Poet of Poets,” Friedrich Hölderlin, setting the scene and introducing the doomed love of the poet’s life, Diotima; it ends in the Neckar River, the river of Hölderlin’s birth and death. Through affairs of love and polity, Tarn speaks through Hölderlin, and Hölderlin speaks through Tarn. The French Revolution—which Hölderlin supported passionately until the Reign of Terror—illuminates our war-torn, ecologically precarious age, as the failures of our age recall those past tragedies. Line after line carries Hölderlin’s hope in an ideal of a poetry that can englobe all the mind’s disciplines and make a universe of its own.                   


Nathaniel Tarn:
The American poet Nathaniel Tarn was born in Paris in 1928 and emigrated to the US in 1970, where he has lived ever since, mostly in the New Mexican desert. A leading anthropologist for many years and a pioneering translator of Pablo Neruda and Victor Segalen, Tarn, “one of the most outstanding poets of his generation” (Kenneth Rexroth), has published more than thirty books of poetry, essays, and translations—including most recently, The Beautiful Contradictions and Ins and Outs of the Forest Rivers, both available from New Directions.