2/28/2007

Rainer Maria Rilke and Mr. Kappa

A good friend recently sent me the following passage via e mail:

In 1903, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke responded by letter to a young man seeking his advice. Rilke eventually wrote ten letters now collectively known and published as "Letters to a Young Poet." They are heartfelt advice from a successful but still struggling artist to another who was deeply mired in self doubt. Rilke's idealism is applicable today to all who might pursue any sort of creative activity:

Your work needs to be independent of others' work
You must not compare yourself to others
No one can help you but yourself
Criticism leads to misunderstandings
Work from necessity and your compulsion to it
Work on what you know and what you love
Don't observe yourself too closely, just let it happen
Don't let yourself be controlled
Live in love and the activity of your work
Be free of thoughts of sin and guilt
Be touched by the anxiety of life
Be patient with the unresolved in your heart
Try to be in love with the questions themselves
Be gentle to those who stay behind
Your inner self is worth your entire concentration
Allow your art to make extraordinary demands on you
Bear your sadness with greater trust than your joy
Do not persecute yourself
Its good to love, because love is difficult
You are not a prisoner of anything or anyone

Rainer Maria Rilke counseled the young poet, known only as Mr. Kappus, over a five year period. No evidence exists that they ever met.


-Namaste