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Letters to a Young Poet Paperback – August 1, 1993
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The poet prefaced each letter with an evocative notation of the city in which he wrote, including Paris, Rome, and the outskirts of Pisa. Yet he spends most of the time encouraging the student in his own work, delivering a sublime, one-on-one equivalent of the modern writing workshop:
Go into yourself and test the deeps in which your life takes rise; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create. Accept it, just as it sounds, without inquiring into it. Perhaps it will turn out that you are called to be an artist. Then take that destiny upon yourself and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what recompense might come from outside.Every page is stamped with Rilke's characteristic grace, and the book is free of the breathless effect that occasionally mars his poetry. His ideas on gender and the role of the artist are also surprisingly prescient. And even his retrograde comment on the "beauty of the virgin" (which the poet derives from the fact that she "has not yet achieved anything") is counterbalanced by his perception that "the sexes are more related than we think." Those looking for an alluring image of the solitary artist--and for an astonishing quotient of wisdom--will find both in Letters to a Young Poet. --Jennifer Buckendorff
Top Customer Reviews
All of these things he discusses with incredible wisdom and lucidity. For anyone feeling the multiplicity of strains the outside world can impose, Rilke centers, assures, and illuminates.
Mr. Kappus, a young poet struggling with life in military school, discovers that he is enrolled in the same military school that Rilke used to attend. Therefore, he decides to seek Rilke's advice and opinions in his poetic endeavors through written correspondence. This book is a compilation of ten letters Rilke sends in response to Mr. Kappus's letters. After the letters themselves, the book builds background context to the letters by informing the reader about Rilke's life and state of mind during the time these letters were written.
I found this book inspiring and saddening at the same time. It isn't really the advice Rilke offers that I value and enjoy so much. My love for this collection of letters stems from the incredible word pictures that Rilke paints in my head and his touchingly sincere style of writing. For example he paints a visual of patience with, "Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer." His words stir something in the heart.
He writes with such intensity and depth that you can see each lesson taught and each thought that is shared has been earned at a high cost to the writer. He speaks to the young poet on solitude and patience for which he has himself been battling to achieve.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These questions just don't 'fit' this remarkable classic which is basic fare in upper high school and college...Published 8 days ago by Lawrence Quigley
I bought this copy for a book club meet-up, but they recommended another translation. I've read both and like this one so much better. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
A wonderful documentary of the great artist Gerhard Richter. He tell his thoughts and unique techniques as he is works on several paintings.Published 5 months ago by helen esberg
A very very good book where you can find personal thoughts, personal experiences and encouragement within harsh truths. I just loved it!Published 8 months ago by Bahar
Well-crafted, great message about love and relationship in a true poet's language. Check it out - especially for anyone who appreciates a wrter's aesthetic.Published 9 months ago by Marilyn Sponza