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Letters to a Young Poet [Kindle Edition]

Rainer Maria Rilke , Stephen Mitchell
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $3.49
Kindle Price: $3.32
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Letters written over a period of several years on the vocation of writing by a poet whose greatest work was still to come.


From the Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"The common reader will be delighted by Stephen Mitchell’s new translation of that slim and beloved volume by Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet . . . the best yet."
--Los Angeles Times


From the Hardcover edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

Product Details

  • File Size: 117 KB
  • Print Length: 126 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0394741048
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (February 16, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004KABF50
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,488 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
120 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Road Map to a Poetic Life October 2, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Written with a simple, elegant, and com(passionate) prose, Rainer Maria Rilke pens a series of letters to a young aspiring poet, Franz Xaver Kappus that contain a stunningly beautiful argument and plea for living an authentic life, that addresses the silent questions that exist in the deepest chambers of our hearts, the grand themes of literature, and hence life: the meaning of solitude and how to love.
The first letter gives the greatest advice anyone can give to someone aspiring to be anything. You have to ask yourself the following question: "must I?" If you answer in the affirmative, then "build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into it's humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse." That you must only judge Art by the following value, has it arisen out of necessity?
The second letter, he warns against the role of irony running through your life and one must guard against it by searching "into the depths of Things: there irony never descends."
The third letter argues that one must always trust in yourself and your own feelings. Do not fall victim to convention. Which is nothing more than unwillingness on each of our parts to not fully engage life, but rather to take what others have said and done as well-traveled roads to walk through life upon. For the person living a poetic life, "everything is gestation and then birthing. To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable...and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating."
The fourth letter argues for one to trust in Nature.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mitchell's translation of Rilke March 19, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I find Stephen Mitchell's translation far superior to that if The New World Library. Compare this passage:

"Perhaps all dragons in our lives are really princesses just waiting to see us just once being beautiful and courageous."(NWL)

"Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are really princesses waiting for us to act, just once, with beauty and courage."(SM)

I only wish Miller's were as beautifully hard bound as NWL's.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
.
This book is a treasure of a man of solitude and poetic ability to FEEL life, not simply an intellectual exercise like 99% people in our so called "enlightened" world so do. It's amazing how insightful Rilke was at such a young age. And yet the world today, the power, control and politics currently live in a fundamentally thinking world of one-sided blindness that is so far apart from Rilke that it is like a regression of humanity of large and major proportion, and in such a short amount of time.
On solitude and the ability to be childlike (not childish), that is, living in the present moment in appreciation of what simply is, apart from all concepts, occupations and fundamental thinking and answers of security and certainty, Rilke writes:
"There is one solitude and that is great . . . a great inner solitude. Going into oneself and for hours meeting no one - this one must be able to attain. To be solitary, the way one was solitary as a child, when the grownups went around involved with things that seemed important and big because they themselves looked so busy . . . and when one day one perceives that their occupations are paltry, their professions petrified and no longer linked with (real) living . . Only the individual who is solitary is like a thing placed under profound laws, and when he goes out into the morning that is just beginning, or looks out into the evening that is full of happening . . . all status drops from him as a dead man, though he stands in the midst of sheer life. pp. 45-47
Rilke knew that life was creative, an art not grasped by criticism and intellectualism:
"Words of art are of an infinite loneliness and with nothing so little to be reached as with criticism. Only love can grasp and hold and be just toward them." p.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Have I Not Read This Sooner? May 6, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Why have I not read this glorious volume sooner? l can't imagine living one day longer without immersing myself within the folds of the pages of Rainer Maria Rilke's Letter's To A Young Poet. This book is solely responsible for setting me free a a writer and creative spirit. After reading it, I feel as if I have the permission to create not only works of my own writing but high art, or whatever is inside my soul needling to be set free.

I leave you with this quote which tells all: "No one can advise or help you - no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple 'I must,' then build you life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Condidtion
Published 24 days ago by Andrew Alexander
5.0 out of 5 stars A series of interesting letters from Rilke. As a ...
A series of interesting letters from Rilke. As a STEM kind of guy, it is interesting to read from someone who is purely from the humanities.
Published 2 months ago by Rick Caird
5.0 out of 5 stars that is perfect for one undergoing self-growth and self-reflection
This is a stunning book, that is perfect for one undergoing self-growth and self-reflection.
It is also provides great insight to the creative processes of one of the greats. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Julie Balsamo
4.0 out of 5 stars Read more than once
Always a good read.
Published 2 months ago by Lolita
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Great book to motivate yourself and live from a creative space. I have re-read it several times and always learn something new each time.
Published 2 months ago by That Melissa
4.0 out of 5 stars Rilke try harder in the next life
A bit repetitive...if he was not dead I would tell him to work on reducing the redundancies.
Published 3 months ago by Ayeda Anekwe
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book.
Wise guidelines.
Published 3 months ago by Dr. B
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book
I love this book, Not the prettiest copy, but for the price, it's fine by me! I've bought this as gifts many times.
Published 4 months ago by Zooey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thanks
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick
This was a quick and deep read I recommend to everyone and anyone,not just poets. Read it twice to soak it all in.
Published 4 months ago by A. Scott
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