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Briefe an einen jungen Dichter Letters to a Young Poet , Rainer Maria RilkeIn 1903, a student at a military academy sent some of his verses to a well known Austrian poet, requesting an assessment of their value The older artist, Rainer Maria Rilke 1875 1926 , replied to the novice in this series of letters an amazing archive of remarkable insights into the ideas behind Rilke s greatest poetry The ten letters reproduced here were written during an important stage in Rilke s artistic development, and they contain many of the themes that later appeared in his best works The poet himself afterwards stated that his letters contained part of his creative genius, making this volume essential reading for scholars, poetry lovers, and anyone with an interest in Rilke, German poetry, or the creative impulse 2005 1353 110 20 1875 1926 110 9789647603409 1386 71 9789648742602 20 1975 1926 1320 Dear Mr Rilke,Assuming it to be a frequent phenomenon with you, I partake in pleasure and liberty of appointing you the receiver of yet another letter, from a besotted admirer of your wisdom and expression.You see I have always felt that the best stories are those that we wish turned true stories that uplift us with their depths and spring us back to the surface to stay afloat stories that carry our thoughts in their seams and weave the most warm blankets to protect us in the winters of life stories that complete the half drawn picture, packing us to a destination of solace.But above all, a story works best when the mind inking it knows its reader like a best friend knowing when to let her be and when to rejig her When the pen joins dots to create conversations between its one such holder and this distant best friend, the creations turn alive, ringing their elevating bells for years to come.Although I laid hands on a bunch of letters your wrote to Mr.Kappus, your young poet friend, I was taken aback by the loud resonance that penetrated my soul upon reading them You came to bless me with your songs on life at a time when I was getting crushed under boulders of fear and anxiety with my arms turning deplorably limp to make even the smallest of difference These bouts are not uncommon but this time, they were of epic proportions When the ground beneath one s ideals is suddenly shaken in virulent jolts, she looks upto the skies in hope of a miraculous intervention You, were mine Like a supreme entablature, your sagacity descended upon me, stabilizing my fledgling structure Your distilled prudence covered every open bevel, every bruised crevice in my existence and all at once, I was steady, sturdy and breathing againAnd your doubts can become a good quality if you school them They must grow to be knowledgeable, they must learn to be critical As soon as they begin to spoil something for you ask them why a thing is ugly, demand hard evidence, test them, and you will perhaps find them at a loss and short of an answer, or perhaps mutinous But do not give in, request arguments, and act with this kind of attentiveness and consistency every single time, and the day will come when instead of being demolishers they will be among your best workers perhaps the canniest of all those at work on the building of your lifeIt might be heartening for you to know that I have been attributing my strength to my doubts as much as to my beliefs In fact, I have often found myself strolling on numerous evenings, absorbed in an inconsequential mist of doubts and dilemmas Donning the robe of a forced soloist has never stopped me from performing but has often questioned my embrace of solitude Is it even worth All those seconds ticking away without another pair of eyes in the vicinity What is needed is this, and this alone solitude, great inner loneliness Going into oneself and not meeting anyone for hours that is what one must arrive atYou quelled my fear in the most beautiful way You didn t deflect me from my walk Instead you slipped an inexpressible kind of validation beneath my feet that transformed the weather all at once Holding your finger, the hard road of complexities and predicaments turned a generous grass bed of soft, white clouds engulfing me in a feeling of beauty, tenderness, clarity and alacrity while sending buoyant tremors of spirit into my being.I know I would continue to run into speed breakers during this voyage of mine occasional skidding on account of poor reflexes on dense complexes would also be inevitable But both in bountiful and sick days, I would survive on your inspiring truths those that cannot be seized by time or place, those that do not have any negative cape, those that find beauty in much, those that detect a breath in dustIf there is something ailing in the way you go about things, then remember that sickness is the means by which an organism rids itself of something foreign to it All one has to do is help it to be ill, to have its whole illness and let it break out, for that is how it mends itself . Letters to a Young PoetRainer Maria Rilke Letters to young poet , written by famed poet Rainer Maria Rilke, starts with aimaginarypoetMr Kappusseeking affirmation, from the great German poet, whether he should write The book continues with a series of letters which are generous answers, to the letters by Young Worker , by Rilke, who was only 28 then, at length, and in great detail about what constitutes creativity and poetry, and how to channel the former into the latter When you read first letter, at the outset, you may get perception as if the poet is not pleased with someone asking him to evaluate works by that someone , however as you move ahead you realize that letters by Rilke are exquisite, deep, very candid and probably of some use to someone new who is seeking advice ofexperienced ones Rilke begins with probably the most honest statement in critical theoryThere is nothing less apt to touch a work of art than critical words all we end up with there isor less felicitous misunderstandingsand continues further mediation about how to write He then begins a series of discussions, continued throughout the Letters, of how both the Young Poet and his work can becomemature,richly developed, and ultimatelyconnected to the Young Poet s creative soul The great poet says that one need not confirmation from others to decide merit of one s work of art he advisesNobody can advise you and help you, nobody There is only one way Go into yourselfHe tells young poet that one must not be worried about others opinions, all that one should be considerate about it to ask oneself whether at one s inside one is convinced or notask yourself in your night s quietest hour must I write Dig down into yourself for a deep answer And if it should be affirmative, if it is given to you to respond to this serious question with a loud and simple I must, then construct your life according to this necessityRilke talks about different themes in the book, he mentions that one must try to make use ofIronyin creative moments to get a grasp of life, other themes, which are explored in the book, are Solitude Solitude, is essential if the Young Poet is to create work of both universal truth and lasting valueWhat is necessary, after all, is only this solitude, vast inner solitude To walk inside yourself and meet no one for hours that is what you must be able to attain To be solitary as you were when you were a child, when the grown ups walked around involved with matters that seemed large and important because they looked so busy and because you didn t understand a thing about what they were doingNature Rilke believes that nature has strong impact on creativity, he suggests that ultimate manifestation of creativity is an act of creation SexualitySexuality, according to RIlke, is manifestation of the creative spirit and an expression of humanity s nature LoveRilke says that if a young poet has to come to both an understanding of himself and nature then love is a an important experience for oneOne day there will be girls and women whose names will no longer just signify the opposite of the male but something in their own right, something which does not make one think of any supplement or limit but only of life and existence the female human being This step forward at first right against the will of the men who are left behind will transform the experience of love, which is now full of error, alter it root and branch, reshape it into a relation between two human beings.I believe that love remains so strong and powerful in your memory because it was your first deep experience of solitariness and the first inner work that undertook on your life Rilke moves on further to talk about that one should try to understand life in fullest and that it could be understood only if life is truly lived He advises that one must engages fully in every experience relationships, love, sexual desire, writing and try to contemplate them in solitude.The book is one of those creations of art which throw light on the path you must follow to let your artistic creations bloom in fullest.Though letters don t have any descriptions of the young poet everything the reader comes to understand about the Young Poet must be gleaned from hints in Rilke s writing nevertheless, it can be assuredly said about the book that it gives the impression the Young Poet undergoes a journey over the course of his correspondence with Rilke and got transformed eventually.I will say that any one who takes his writing seriously for which he has to take up his vocation to read can read this book, the book is a must read for anyone interested in poetry and life. The last book for the year The soothing, gentle, unimposing yet wise voice of Rilke what better way to fold up onechapter in life and open another, with hope forsuffering and joys in apt measure This little book has been my companion for four years now, always half finished, and it feels strange to finally remove the bookmark and to keep it aside.Read it with a forgiving bend Keep in mind that Rilke never wrote them with an intention to publish, it was mostly an attempt to convey a few truths to a fellow poet Read it in that spirit If you read with critical intent, the magic of the book will be lost on you.My only complaint with the book is that it presents only one half of the conversation It would have been a wonderful piece if both the young poet s and Rilke s letters had been printed in succession I wonder if such an edition is available somewhere While reading Ideas of Heaven A Ring of Stories , by Joan Silber I found myself really enjoying the poetry inserted by Rainer Maria Rilke relevant powerful truthful beautiful words of depth I connected with I wanted to knowabout who Rilke was I found this book a compilation of 10 letters that Rilke wrote to a young poet named Franz Xaver Xaver wanted to know if his work was good Rilke letters are inspirational filled with wisdom jewels to writers and beauty Written 2 years before Rilke s death Rilke s letters continue to be studied by writers today I m a reader not a writer and a complete newbie to the discovery of Rilke.but the things that stood out for me advice for lack of a better word were lessons on ways to live a fulfilling, rich, honest, soulful life a transformed life.one without criticism value of solitudevalue of God value of loveI know I simplified these letters from a brilliant man who died many years ago.but they are powerful speaking to our most authentic selves His poetry is lovely I m not in general a poetry type girl But I love Rilke s. Dear Mr Rilke, How can I thank you enough for these marvelously heartfelt letters, full of inspiration, beauty and wisdom They are a glorious gift, a gospel of wonderful words which I will follow all the days of my life.Dear Reader,If there is one thing I would say to you, it is to caution you against immoderation, against lavish and excessive language When you write, try to say what you really feel and using the simplest language you know Listen to the silence deep in your heart and begin there Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose Dear Mr Rilke, I am trying to keep your advice in mind but my heart is a busy, noisy, chattering place and it tells me to use five words instead of one, and long sentences rather than short ones.Dear Reader,Don t let yourself be controlled by irony, especially during uncreative moments When you are fully creative, try to use it, as oneway to take hold of life Search into the depths of things Imagine yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world s sounds for the writer or poet, solitude and silence are essential And books Read, read, read and then you will be able to write.Dear Mr Rilke,I do read, a wide selection of authors and titles, but sometimes I doubt my own judgement of what I read, especially when it differs from others or from the literary critics.Dear Reader, Read as little as possible of literary criticism such things are either artisan opinions or else clever word games Works of art are of an infinite solitude and no means of approach is so useless as criticism.Dear Mr Rilke,My dilemma when I read is an inability to abandon the work to its own solitude at the end, I always want to enter into dialogue with the writer Dear Reader,Dialogue is good Anything which gives rise to creativity is useful, words on a page or the blank page itself Dear Mr Rilke,Speaking of blank pages, I felt an absence in your book I wondered about the letters from Mr Kappus to which yours were a response Dear Reader,It is the reader s response which is important, not that of Mr Kappus, and since it was he who edited this book, we must presume he preferred to remain silent Dear Mr Rilke,Had I the editing of this book, each letter would have been accompanied by a blank page, and exactly for that reason, for the reader s response That is how I would like all books to be, printed on one side of the page only so that the reader can fill in the other and have a real dialogue with the writer.Dear Reader, This is the best idea you have given me so far, and as for the rest, let life happen to you Believe me life is right, always. If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.Published 2016 Portuguese translation and afterword by Jos Miranda JustoDieses vor allem fragen Sie sich in der stillsten Stunde ihrer Nacht muss ich schreiben Graben Sie in sich nach einer tiefen Antwort Und wenn diese zustimmed lauten sollte, wenn Sie mit einem starken und einfachen Ich muss dieser ernsten Frage begegnen d rfen, dann bauen Sie Ihr Leben nach dieser Notwendingkeit This book has been my favourite book for twenty years orWhen I was attending the Goethe Institute I had access to its library which is huge I could request any book I wanted, and the services of the Goethe library would provide me with it It was literally manna from heavenConsequently, I never had a copy for myself Until now This gorgeous edition translated from German into Portuguese bilingual edition , produced something worth having It s a fine addition to my German library at home On top of that the translation is far from serviceable Apart from this translation, I only had come into contact with the translation done by Vasco Gra a Moura which is a different beast altogether I think the first time I wrote about Rilke was in 2008 Whatcan I say that I haven t said before Apparently still lots remained to be said and written If you re into German Literature, Rilke in particular, read the rest of this review elsewhere. In which Rainer Maria Rilke, both mercilessly and mercifully, bashes me over the head with a baseball bat from the other side of the Great Whatever. Rilke 1875 1926 was a famous German poet, born in Prague He traveled widely throughout Europe, married and had a daughter A dozen years out of school, after Rilke had achieved some fame as a poet, a young man wrote to him asking for advice about life and poetry Rilke wrote ten letters to him over five years The young boy was romantic, frail and dreamy a prisoner, so to speak, in a military boarding school where he was subject to strict discipline, bullying and humiliation It was the same school that Rilke s father sent him to in preparation for a career as a military officer And all those adjectives also applied to Rilke who had been in the identical situation So, in a sense, Rilke poured his heart out writing to his younger self Some of Rilke s writings in the ten letters For the creative artist there is no poverty nothing is insignificant or unimportant There is nothing that manages to influence a work of art less than critical words They always result inor less unfortunate misunderstandings Things are not as easily understood nor as expressible as people usually would like us to believe Most happenings are beyond expression they exist where a word has never intruded Writing in 1904 Rilke was amazingly prescient about the upcoming sexual revolution Perhaps the sexes areclosely related than one would think Perhaps the great renewal of the world will consist of this, that man and woman, freed of all confused feelings and desires, shall no longer seek each other as opposites, but simply as members of a family and neighbors, and will unite as human beings, in order to simply, earnestly, patiently, and jointly bear the heavy responsibility of sexuality that has been entrusted to them.This progress shall transform the experience of love, presently full of error, opposed at first by men, who have been overtaken in their progress by women It shall thoroughly change the love experience to the rebuilding of a relationship meant to be between two persons, no longer just between man and woman.The men, who today cannot yet feel it coming, shall be surprised and defeated by it Do not allow yourself to be confused in your aloneness by the something within you that wishes to be released from it This very wish, if you will calmly and deliberately use it as a tool, will help to expand your solitude into far distant realms Everything you can think about in your childhood is good Of all my books there are only a few that are indispensable to me Two of them are constantly at my fingertips wherever I may be They are here with me now the Bible and the books of the great Danish writer Jens Peter Jacobsen Rilke particularly praises Jacobsen s collection of short stories, Mogens, which I have reviewed here We are unutterably alone, essentially, especially in the things most intimate and most important to us.It becomes increasingly clear that it aloneness is basically not something we can choose to have or not to have We simply are alone One can only delude one s self and act as though it were not so that is all The second half of the book is a collection of some of his poems Most are very accessible Here are some sections of verse that I liked From FOR A FRIENDI have my dead, and I would let them goand be surprised to see them all so cheerful, so soon at home in being dead, so right, so unlike their repute You, you alone, return brush past me, move about, persist in knocking something that vibratingly betrays you.From ORPHEUS EURYDICE HERMES.Wrapt in herself she wandered And her deadnesswas filling her like fullness Full as a fruit with sweetness and with darknesswas she with her great death, which was so new that for the time she could take nothing in.From THE CATHEDRAL In those small towns you come to realize how the cathedrals utterly outgrew their whole environment Their birth and rise, as our own life s too great proximity will mount beyond our vision and our sense of other happenings, took precedence of all things as though that were history, piled up in their immeasurable masses in petrification safe from circumstance,From THE DWARF S SONGMy hands too will always be failing me How hopelessly stunted they are you can see damp, heavy, hopping constrictedly like little toads in wet weather And everything else about me too is old and worn and sad to view why does God delay to do away with it altogether From THE ORPHAN GIRL S SONGI m no one, and no one is what I shall be I m still too small to exist, I agree but I ll always be so No one can need me it s too soon now, and tomorrow it s too late.A very thought provoking, calming read Portrait of Rilke by Leonid Pasternak from Wikipedia In , A Student At A Military Academy Sent Some Of His Verses To A Well Known Austrian Poet, Requesting An Assessment Of Their Value The Older Artist, Rainer Maria Rilke , Replied To The Novice In This Series Of Letters An Amazing Archive Of Remarkable Insights Into The Ideas Behind Rilke S Greatest Poetry The Ten Letters Reproduced Here Were Written During An Important Stage In Rilke S Artistic Development, And They Contain Many Of The Themes That Later Appeared In His Best Works The Poet Himself Afterwards Stated That His Letters Contained Part Of His Creative Genius, Making This Volume Essential Reading For Scholars, Poetry Lovers, And Anyone With An Interest In Rilke, German Poetry, Or The Creative Impulse