Thursday, February 4, 2010

Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke

I have known about this book for many, many years. As a once upon a time English Literature major, it would be embarrassing to not know of this book. But, for the longest time I stayed far away. Too afraid of all the cliche attached to the text.

Was I wrong to think the book full of cliche? No. Was I wrong to stay away from the book? Yes.

Rilke ruminates on much throughout the book... love, science, religion, criticism, art, poetry, etc. Of all these topics, my only shared interest is on art. Rilke has an amazing way of making art seem like everything and nothing all at once. Rilke's views on love, while interesting and multi-layered, are a little too positive for my liking.

A hipster commented on my reading of Rilke. He mentioned Rilke as being "pretty hard stuff." At first, I was quick to think he was totally wrong. But, perhaps not. Perhaps, for those who do not create regularly, there is something overwhelming about Rilke. For those of us who could have been the "young poet," we see so much of our own thoughts... our own devil's advocates... and our own creative want.

"If only it were possible for us to see further than our knowledge reaches..." (p. 82)


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