Title: Letters to a Young Poet
Author: Rainer Maria Rilke
Finished: April 18, 2009
A great book filled with ten (10) letters he wrote to a young man who was not only a poet but considering enlisting in the army. Rilke was one of few people it seems who won’t hold back and gives his honest opinion about everything.
It was very interesting and influential reading the personal letters during the relationship of these two men. While poetry and the critiques were included, the book was more about real life experiences and how to handle yourself in different situations. But Rilke’s advice can influence anyone reading the book as well.
In his first poet to Kappus, Rilke asks the questions “must I write?”. This is what I try and ask myself every day since reading this book. My favorite passage follows that question:
“Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple ‘I must,’ then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it.”
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