Saturday, December 5, 2009

Letters to a Young Poet

Letters to a Young Poet Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Book 47 of 50 for the New Author Challenge
Book 9 of 10 for the Orbis Terrarum Challenge (Austria)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last year when I finished the Orbis Terrarum Challenge, I was sent this book as a prize. I wish I knew which lovely blogger sent it to me, but THANK YOU to whomever it was. I really enjoyed it.

This book contains 10 letters written by Rilke to an aspiring poet. While Rilke doesn't really give the poetry much criticism, he encourages the young poet to extract more of the meaning of his existence, to dig deep, and to make his own destiny. This book is a slim volume, but it has some excellent points to ponder.

Some favorite quotes:
If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.

Live awhile in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times... patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
I'm a little humbled by the fact that Rilke was younger than I am when he wrote most of the letters. I'm not an artist or a poet and some of his prose was a little overly intellectual for me. But, I will definitely pick this one up again. It's a good little book to browse. Rilke's insights are stunning.

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Source: Gift


Shona said...

I absolutely loved reading this book. Small but insightful..You have chosen real good quotes

Stephanie said...

This looks like a wonderful book -- beautiful and challenging.

Ladytink_534 said...

It does sound like a book to keep on your desk to glance through now and again.

StephTheBookworm said...

Hi Tricia, I could not find your e-mail address, so I will just write to you in here, hope you don't mind. Thank you SOOO much for the books! I was so glad to find out who sent them. I love the books, and appreciate your kindness. Thanks for picking them out for me - they were great choices! :) Happy holidays! I really like your blog and am now a follower. I also noticed that you used to be a librarian. That is the career I am pursuing! How cool.

Veens said...

Wow, real nice! Sounds like a good lil book

Shweta said...

I read this book 4 years back and since have gone back to it so many times because , letters are really inspiring. I always recommend this book to anyone who asks me for my advice. :)

Good to know u liked it too