There was a period in my life -- my late thirties -- when I poured obsessively over Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus & Duino Elegies. I even got a German dictionary & worked word-by-word through some of the sonnets. I collected different translations. Dana Gioia (now Commissar of the NEA, but then just an aparatchik on the make) once said that Rilke had done more harm to American poetry than any other poet he could think of. Or words to that effect. As far as I know, Gioia wasn't talking about me specifically, but he might as well have been. Gioia, a poet of suburban sensibilities, certainly would not approve Rilke's intensities. We are more fortunate than the angels, because we mostly escape the menace of purity.