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Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria…

Letters to a Young Poet (original 1929; edition 2011)

by Rainer Maria Rilke, Mark Harman (Translator)

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Title:Letters to a Young Poet
Authors:Rainer Maria Rilke
Other authors:Mark Harman (Translator)
Info:Harvard University Press (2011), Hardcover, 112 pages
Collections:Your library

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Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (1929)



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English (42)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
"...we will also gradually learn to realize that that which we call destiny goes forth from within people, not from without into them."

From this incredibly sensitive and thoughtful man one can receive a lifetime's worth of advice on nearly all the topics pertinent to being human; namely, love, but also work, work/life balance, forgiveness, childhood difficulties, youthful exuberances, sex and poetry. Rilke was so remarkably giving of his wisdom, his thoughts, his deeply personal inner life. What a fortunate man, was Mr. Kappus, to have such a pen pal. ( )
  libbromus | Oct 6, 2015 |
I've loved every bit of Rilke's poetry I've read, but I couldn't stand these letters. Half of me saw them as a tired, private communication between an artist and an aspirant, How to Live Authentically; reasonable letters, bad book. The other half of me was repulsed, unable to look past the fawning, excessive chic granted them.
Life-changing they are not. ( )
  ternary | Feb 14, 2015 |
This was my second time reading the book. It still got me to think and raised questions. I have little doubt that I will read it again some day. A friend had recommended the book when I was looking for work and trying to figure out what to do next. ( )
  RKoletteL | Jun 5, 2014 |
In 1902, 19-year-old cadet Franz Kappus wrote to Rainer Maria Rilke for his thoughts on some poems he had written. Rilke was known for a few acclaimed books of poetry and was beginning to really hone his craft. Kappus wanted genuine criticism and was trying to decide between a career in the army or a life as a writer. The ten letters he saved and subsequently published as Letters to a Young Poet are some of the most genuine and honest assessments of the field of poetry and the duty of the poet.

Morton’s translation of Rilke letters is all at once succinct, plain, and gorgeous. Rilke needs few words to impart to Kappus the importance of poetry and how one should go about writing it. “Nobody can advise you and help you,” he says, “nobody. There is only one way. Go into yourself.” Rilke decries the professional critic, the editor, and even the friend who seeks to help the poet. All poetry must come from a place free of outside judgment. Rilke also helps Kappus through a series of crises, including ones of sexuality, intimacy, and professionalism. Rilke takes a little longer to respond to each letter, almost trying to wean Kappus off using him as a critical crutch. In ten simple letters, Rilke gives a very good master class in poetry. If you’re a writer or a lover of poetry, this one will make for a grand and quick read. ( )
  NielsenGW | Mar 11, 2014 |
Twelve years on and it will have been a ten
by ten span of time since you left, Rilke.
Left on high, left to below both word and
hope, hope, most of all hope. Your heart you gave,
and for that we love.

I'd like to rhyme in metered line along
the likes of you, but too long ago your
poetry graced my eyes. What lies left's a
feeling fit for tears and joy alone, and
somber light it is.

Your maudlin days do not astonish, for
many a kindred of mine has suffered
the same, and yet, goes on. I draw from each
going for my own, and yours I say is
of exquisite touch.

Man to man you wrote back then, both letter
and the wider world of word, and as with
most I gritted firm for any and all
male strickenings of the female fact, of
grim necessity.

But 'lo! You knew, and where you didn't, you
hoped, in a beauty of mournful bright. Of
early on you penned this plighted dream, and
did more in a quickening page than most
in their own lifetime.

And more, and more, and more to come. Childhood
days, unhappy days, and yet every bloom
you would cherish and hold dear. Sin was not
a word allowed you said; what mattered was
life, and lived to love.

In solitude and suspension flush, you
counseled attention paid to the soul of
self. Every part and every shuddering truth,
both internal and the real. Often faint,
often not enough.

Fail better. The words came after you, and
with less heart, but you would most agree. There's
lovely things in life, you said, you wrote, you
sculpted deep in tears of crystalline. One
weeps in the knowing.

But one would smile and cheer and cradle close
what you've left us dear. You felt, and saw fit
to refract as close to thought through form. To
all, to us, to me. I cannot return,
save for scripting here.

Rainer Maria Rilke, you wrote; I
felt my heart would burst. ( )
  Korrick | Feb 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rilke, Rainer Mariaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burnham, Joan M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Enwald, LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kappus, Franz XaverIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nerburn, KentForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norton, M.D. HerterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snell, ReginaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Storck, Joachim W.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was in the late autumn of 1902 - I was sitting under some ancient chestnuts in the park of the Military Academy in Wiener-Neustadt, reading. (Introduction)
Your letter only reached me a few days ago.
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La volupté de la chair est une expérience ces sens comparable au pur regard ou à la pure sensation qu’exhale un beau fruit sur la langue ; elle est une grande expérience, sans limites, qui nous est donnée, une connaissance du monde, la connaissance dans toute sa plénitude et sa splendeur.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393310396, Paperback)

It would take a deeply cynical heart not to fall in love with Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet. At the end of this millennium, his slender book holds everything a student of the century could want: the unedited thoughts of (arguably) the most important European poet of the modern age. Rilke wrote these 10 sweepingly emotional letters in 1903, addressing a former student of one of his own teachers. The recipient was wise enough to omit his own inquiries from the finished product, which means that we get a marvelously undiluted dose of Rilkean aesthetics and exhortation.

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:50 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Letters written to F.X.Kappus during the years 1903-1908. Chronicle of Rilkes's life for the years 1903-1908 (p. 81-123).

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393310396, 0393318508

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141192305, 0141192321

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