Book Review: Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Book review

And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Recently in a discussion with a friend he quoted from Letters to a Young Poet as we discussed embracing isolation, experiencing solitude and the impact this can have on the process of creativity.

I was intrigued and purchased a copy of this book to find out more…

In the early twentieth century Rainer Maria Rilke wrote a series of letters to a young officer cadet, Franz Xaver Kappus, advising him on writing, creativity, love, sexuality, suffering and he shared accounts of his travels around Europe.

Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

This thought provoking book gives an insight into the life of a writer as Rilke gives kind advice to his friend.  Letters to a Young Poet illustrates the determination that artists require to stick to their path and to create.

Rilke shares wisdom and insight into the human condition.  This is a book for those that wish to explore living to their fullest potential, to explore the inner and outer worlds, to experience solitude and the growth this can bring and to become more connected in the process.

But your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Solitude is discussed with great wisdom and how stepping away from life and busyness can allow an exploration of the inner world.  This time and space can allow for the answers to come from within.  It is not to say that this process is easy, invariably it can feel very uncomfortable at the start.  A place of unfamiliarity, maybe with its own difficulties, possibly bringing up deep seated fears and emotions.  This maybe a slow and intense path but in the process of acceptance and surrender deeper awareness can be achieved.

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.   …live in the question.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

This book is a useful read for anyone wishing to explore creativity, artistry, spirituality and deeper ways of living.

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.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Sunset by Rainer Maria Rilke

Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colors
which it passes to a row of ancient trees.

You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you
one part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth.

leaving you, not really belonging to either,
not so hopelessly dark as that house that is silent,
not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing
that turns to a star each night and climbs–

leaving you (it is impossible to untangle the threads)
your own life, timid and standing high and growing,
so that, sometimes blocked in, sometimes reaching out,
one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.