In 1908, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote "Requiem for a Friend" in memory of Paula Modersohn-Becker, the German painter who had profoundly affected him and who had died a year earlier. Although a great modern painter, Modersohn-Becker is remembered primarily as she is portrayed in Rilke's poem. Dear Friend looks at the relationship of two great artists whose often-strained friendship was extraordinary for both.
Eric Torgersen has published five volumes of poetry, two novellas, and the NBA-nominated Dear Friend: Rainer Maria Rilke and Paula Modersohn-Becker. Born in Huntington, New York, he has a BA in German Literature from Cornell and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Iowa. He spent two years in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia (a time he draws on for the novella entitled Ethiopia). He has retired after forty years of teaching, thirty-eight of them at Central Michigan University. He lives in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, with his wife, the quilt artist Ann Kowaleski, and now writes almost daily when not traveling.