Customer Review

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books I've ever read, July 12, 2004
This review is from: Letters to a Young Poet (Paperback)
I have read, re-read and generally mutilated my copy of Rainier Maria Rilke's "Letters To A Young Poet". Rarely does a day go by without me thinking of Rilke's Nietzschean, no-holds-barred philosophy of the real poet. For him, a poet is no simply one who writes verses or rhymes words: it is a different kind of human being who embraces not only beauty and happinesss but suffering and misfortune. His thoughts on solitude are absolutely indispensable. Any artist or aspiring artist who has ever been in a fruitless relationship ("loss of the self" is a theme he explores almost obsessively) will realize that Rilke is writing through experience on the necessity of a good amount of solitude, both spiritual and physical, to create art. He is achingly honest to the poet with whom he is conversing, and passionately sincere. He knows that not every poet is a poet, and that some will find the Promethean task far too exhausting to actually go through with it: the real artist is the one who has no choice in the matter. His inner demons or angels will not ALLOW him to stop writing. Bukowski's thoughts on the matter are similar, as are most major writers and artist. This is a demanding, unforgiving collection of letters. Rilke has no patience for weakness or dilly dallying. But it is more inspiring than any self-help book on the shelf. This should be nationally distributed, not only for artists but for human beings as a whole.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 10, 2014 1:53:04 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 10, 2014 1:55:38 PM PST
Erin says:
I love you review! And it's my favorite book too! I literally laughed when I read your last sentence ahah... I agree with it! A french comedian had done lectures of Rilke's letters in France in 90s. Now I am learning the art of being an actor and I hope one day I'll be able to do the same.

I remember I was 18 the first time I opened this book and I cried when I read that Rilke thought that critique was the worst approach to art. I couldn't go any further. It took me many months to find the courage to open the book again and look at my true self.

Alright, now I'm gonna read all your reviews in order to find a book that can inspire me as much as this one!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2014 5:21:56 AM PST
J from NY says:
Well, thank you! :) I'll have to check out that comedian.
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J from NY
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Location: New York

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