Penguin Classics £8.99 (116pp) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Letters To A Young Poet, By Rainer Maria Rilke
Friday 08 April 2011
A letter written to Rilke by a young man entering a military career who secretly wished to become a poet himself forms the basis of this slim, jewel of a volume of ten letters, written in response by the Bohemian-Austrian poet over six years in the early 1900s when he was still cementing his reputation.
Translated by Charlie Louth, it embodies Rilke's poetics and has since become one of his best-read works. Rilke suggests that one should turn to writing only if it is absolutely necessary, and then to embrace a lifetime's solitude: "What is needed is this, and this alone: solitude, great inner loneliness."
The letters capture an enduring warmth and wisdom (be patient, he advises, write as if you have an eternity) that will give heart to aspiring poets today.
auctionThe first 23 lots have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
healthJames Bond's alcohol consumption puts him at 'high risk' of cirrhosis, tremors... and impotence
musicPolice chief rejects rappers' claims that his work is as dangerous as law enforcement or military service
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
tvSpoiler alert: Find out the result of a heated final show
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
Harvey Weinstein reveals his secret weapon on-set
Now that an oil trader's drinking has got him sacked, will we all have to make do with an afternoon latte?
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
peopleWhat advice would David Cameron give to his younger self?
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ sign language interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 Mystery of Epping Forest 'big cat' is solved
- 3 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 4 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 5 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- < Previous
- Next >