Loading Events

« All Events

A Year with Rilke: for Our Lives and Our World with Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows

Dec 11, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - Jan 14, 2024 @ 7:00 pm PST


About The Program

We are thrilled to offer this in-depth online course with Anita and Joanna exploring Rilke’s amazing relevance to the personal and planetary challenges now facing humanity.

“You are not surprised at the force of the storm / you have seen it growing,” wrote the great lyric poet Rainer Maria Rilke before Europe erupted into war a century ago, intuitively sensing the disasters the coming century would bring. “Now you must go out into your heart as onto a vast plain. Now the immense loneliness begins…Through the empty branches the sky remains. It is what you have.”

Not surprisingly, Rilke’s influence can be found at the heart of Joanna’s pioneering Work That Reconnects, the dynamic, interactive process known worldwide for helping people bring their full humanity to today’s social and ecological crises. Joanna and Anita — admired for their exquisite translations of Rilke’s work — will share with you, in twelve monthly online sessions, the heightened sense of beauty and wonder that a poem can ignite. In this program, offered for the first time, you will discover your own creative response to the perils and promise of our time.

Participants will be asked to purchase the four volumes of Rilke that Joanna and Anita have translated. The passages from A Year with Rilke will be used as daily readings/meditations, and the poems/letters will be assigned for each class session to be read beforehand. The course will be interactive and include breakout rooms. Participants who choose to do so may share with the group their responses to the course.

Check out Joanna Macy’s video, Climate Crisis as a Spritual Path.

Required texts (all translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God (Riverhead, 2005)

In Praise of Mortality: Selections from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus (Echo Point Books & Media 2016)

A Year with Rilke: Daily Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke (Harper One 2009)

Letters to a Young Poet: A New Translation and Commentary (Shambhala 2021)


All sessions 5-7pm Eastern Time. The course will run in three sequential stages, as follows:


Book of Hours:

Dec 11, 2022: Rilke’s life: childhood, youth, relationships, travels to Russia. Theme: the development of Rilke’s spirituality and his vocation as a poet

Jan 8, 2023:  Rilke’s View of Reciprocity between Humans, Nature, and the Sacred

Feb 12, 2023: The Consequent Erosion of Patriarchy and Linear Causation

March 12, 2023: Structural Oppression or patriarchy and capitalism (Note: clocks switch back one hour from EST to EDT)

The Sonnets to Orpheus (from In Praise of Mortality):

April 9, 2023: Rilke and World War I 

 May 14, 2023: Rilke’s Grounding in  Praise and Gratitude

 June 11, 2023: Rilke and Technology, Change, and Loss

Sept 10, 2023: “What Batters You Becomes Your Strength”


The Duino Elegies (from In Praise of Mortality) and selected letters from Letters to a Young Poet:

Oct 8, 2023: Introduction to Letters to a Young Poet: Growing God

Nov 12, 2023: Letters to a Young Poet: Love

Dec 10, 2023: Interbeing (Duino Elegy #8)

Jan 14, 2024: Transformation: Being Gaia (Duino Elegy #9)

Meet the Presenters

Joanna Macy

Joanna Macy

Joanna Macy PhD, one of Rowe’s most beloved teachers, is a scholar of Buddhism, systems thinking and deep ecology. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, Joanna has created a ground-breaking framework for personal and social change that brings a new way of seeing the world as our larger body. Her many books include World as Lover, World as SelfWidening Circles, A MemoirActive Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy; Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work That Reconnects and a book about her life and work entitled A Wild Love for the World: Joanna Macy and the Work of Our Times (ed. Stephanie Kaza). Joanna received a BA from Wellesley College in 1950 and a PhD in Religion from Syracuse University in 1978.


Anita Barrows

Anita Barrows

Anita Barrows, PhD is a poet, translator, novelist and teacher. She teaches at the Wright Institute, Berkeley, and maintains a private practice where she specializes in trauma and developmental disabilities in children, adolescents and adults. Anita has received awards for her poetry from The National Endowment for the Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, and the Robinson Jeffers Foundation. Her novel The Language of Birds was published in May of 2022 and she has published four volumes of poetry: ExileWe Are the HungerTestimony, and If Not Now… . Anita’s translations with Joanna Macy of Rilke’s poetry and prose have been widely quoted, set to music, and nominated for national awards. She has also done translations of novels, poetry, drama and non-fiction from French and Italian for British and American publishers.


Dec 11 @ 5:00 pm PST
Jan 14, 2024 @ 7:00 pm PST
Event Category:



    Event Type