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Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria…
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Letters to a Young Poet (original 1929; edition 2011)

by Rainer Maria Rilke, Mark Harman (Translator)

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3,951541,297 (4.26)1 / 49
Member:smccurdie
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
Rating:****
Tags:None

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

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English (51)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  English (54)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
I've always been rather skittish about poetry. I blame my English-lit teacher for that. I have had many good teachers, but I've also had many not-so-great teachers as well. The reason for the blame game is that this particular teacher made me feel as though poetry were out of my reach, as if somehow only the cleverest of human beings could understand it. And there was only one way you could interpret a poem. Only one right answer. I've since learned that this way of thinking was wrong. Three people can read the same poem and see something entirely different in it. Every reader has a different experience.

But it wasn't until a few years ago that I read something along the lines of, "you don't have to understand and interpret every word of poetry to enjoy it." Anyway, that opened up a mental window for me and for the first time in a long time, it made me feel relaxed around poetry.

This book, however, is not necessarily just about poetry, but about the poet Rilke and the advice he gives to the young poet Mr. Kappus. I've always been interested in the lives of authors and poets. I want to know what inspires them to write, their creative approach, and in general just their lives. I've heard Rilke's name throughout my literature-loving life, and this book has come up several times. I finally decided to read it on a whim. At sixty-six pages, it didn't take long to read.

This is one of those books that will inspire you. This is the kind of book that you give to graduates. This is the kind of book that you re-read every now and then. Rilke's powerful advice to Kappus can be applied to help explore the depths of creativity. I don't usually write in my books, and thank heaven this was an ebook, but I wanted to highlight and make notes on just about every page. This is a marvelous book that I recommend everyone read at least once in their life. Do it! You won't regret it.

Read more at http://www.toreadornottoread.net/2016/07/2016-nonfiction-reading-challenge.html#... ( )
  mt256 | Aug 26, 2016 |
A simply astonishing piece, all the more so for the fact that it was never intended for publication. In 1903, an aspiring young poet wrote a letter to the established poet Rainer Maria Rilke, searching for guidance. Over the next few years a correspondence developed in which Rilke offered his thoughts on life, love, poetry, death, childhood, religion and solitude in a series of articulate letters to the young Franz Xaver Kappus. When I first heard of this book, I assumed by its title it would be a literary conceit: Rilke addressing poems to his younger self. Whilst this is not literally true, you do get the sense that Rilke is passing on advice and observations that he wished he would have known when younger. Completely absent pretension or a sense of superiority, and saying in fifty or so pages what most artists couldn't say in a thousand, Rilke's letters offer remarkable philosophical insight that we can all utilize.

Credit must also go to the new publishers: Penguin have released this book in its 'Little Black Classics' series, where each book is available for just £1. Consequently, there is no reason why anyone should not have the opportunity to derive sustenance from this profound piece of work. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Aug 17, 2016 |
This went over my head. I don't know how to rate it.
  Ahtoosa | Aug 3, 2016 |
I've read this every coupla years or so since I was of the age of the "young poet." I've consistently found something new in it as I grow older. Reading it as a full-fledged adult is an entirely different experience. It becomes clear just how much it is specifically for the youth.

As a mature reader, one can easily see and understand the tension between Rilke's demands that one find comfort in their own solitude and the command to love unconventionally, at any chance one gets. When I was younger, I understood the necessity of solitude as a buffering oneself from the vicissitudes of life--of exploring your own desires and passions at all costs, of allowing yourself a certain kind of selfishness in such a pursuit. I didn't understand how one could both allow their own loneliness and also be open to the possibility of connection.

In my 20s this bothered me: the idea of "two solitudes greeting each other." Now I realize that it is simply an ontological reality he describes. Rilke is telling the young poet: "Listen, loneliness is a fact of life. Better to get acquainted with it, comfortable with it. The better you know yourself, the more okay with yourself you are, and the better you can love." ( )
  reganrule | Jun 3, 2016 |
Here are 10 letters written to the unknown correspondent, Herr Kappus, with rich explanatory notes. Similar to Henri's [b:The Art Spirit|207781|The Art Spirit|Robert Henri|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1387708062s/207781.jpg|437807], this is the voice of a master-of-craft discussing life and the pursuit, but more broad in scope and more constrained in world view. We read Rilke on art, poetry, life, death, love, god, and his need for solitude.

It's difficult to critically review private correspondence: I suspect one who feels inclined to read these letters will enjoy them and find value, others would be right to pass. ( )
  stonecrops | May 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (31 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)

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