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Letters to a Young Poet 2nd Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1577311553
ISBN-10: 1577311558
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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

About the Author

Rainer Maria Rilke (also Rainer Maria von Rilke) (4 December 1875 - 29 December 1926) is considered one of the German language's greatest 20th century poets. His haunting images focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety - themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets. He wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose. His two most famous verse sequences are the Sonnets to Orpheus and the Duino Elegies; his two most famous prose works are the Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. He also wrote more than 400 poems in French, dedicated to his homeland of choice, the canton of Valais in Switzerland.

Nerburn received his PhD in religion and art from Graduate Theological Union in conjunction with the University of California at Berkeley. He is a former sculptor of religious art.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library; 2nd edition (March 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577311558
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577311553
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This version of Letters to a Young Poet takes the poetry out of Rilke's writing. The meaning of what is said is changed greatly by the way the words have been changed. It's like someone randomly switched them out using a thesaurus, with no regard for the overall meaning or feel of the work. I recommend the free version that you can find online.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved it! It reminded of the literature I had to read many years ago, when I was in college. Notice I wrote the verb "had". I am feeling a little guilty of not appreciating the works I had to read, then, and puzzled, by how I admire them now. The content of these letters are timeless. "It is perhaps no use now to reply to your actual words; for what can I say about your disposition to doubt or about your inability to bring your outer and inner life into harmony, or about anything else that oppresses you-: it is always what I have said before; always the wish that you might be able to find patience enough in yourself to endure, and a single-heartedness enough to believe; that you might win increasing trust in what is difficult, and in your solitude among other people. And for the rest, let life happen to you. Believe me:life is right, at all events".I think it reads like a prayer.
I have no knowledge of the German Language, but if this translation conjures this kind of emotion, imagine the impact it should have on the reader that reads the original.
Thank you!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am getting tired of being tricked into buying books that appear to be legitimately produced by are actually equivalent to self-published. In this case, it means that no translator credit is given and no doubt the translator does not receive any royalties for his or her translation work. These self-pub piggyback on the reviews that legitimate publishers have generated. In this case, Amazon does warn that the review applies to the mass market edition but I did not realize that the mass market edition is put out by a different--and legit--publisher. Get that edition instead if you care about people being credited for their work and receiving renumeration for their labors. Note that ISBN 1599863901 is also self-published. A legitimate trade paperback edition is Letters to a Young Poet
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The message was a good one... at least the parts I could understand. I had a really hard time following the guy's writing style. I don't know if it's because the guy is a poet, from the 20th century, or just smarter than me, but I struggled to keep up.

For comparable, but more easily understood, alternatives, try Man's Search for Meaning or The Power of Now.

Currently I'm reading Experiment With Time, written in the 20s, and have no problem with that one.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a big Rilke fan and this book is great! I read his early work and did not realize that this book was in print. This is my favorite Rilke work. If unfamiliar with Rilke, at the very least, I recommend reading Rilke's bio on Wikipedia or another website. Enjoy! It really is great!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is timeless and a word for all who create. Rilke is a master wordsmith, captured in letters to a young man. I learned about this book from an interview with Lady Gaga of all people. While I am not a poet, these words ring truth in my own writing and creating.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was amazing. I'm not a huge fan of Rilkes writing style, but his knowledge makes up for it. Topics range from solitude, to love, to being a writer. It's full of wisdom that I'm glad I now have access to. A definite must read for all.
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By ejschrip on February 14, 2016
Format: Paperback
an inexpensive book to add to the collection for those days you might feel uninspired or unmotivated to create. it's a collection of 10 letters, just a few pages each, so you can pick it up and put it down at any time without needing the context of previous chapters. it's a quick read, and one that means a lot to me in my current season of life. tack it on to your next order and enjoy. :)
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