“Do not now strive to uncover answers:they cannot be given you because you have not been able to live them. And what matters is to live everything. Live the questions for now. Perhaps then you will gradually, without noticing it, live your way into the answer, one distant day in the future. ” Pg. 18
This is my first read of the year. In consideration of your time I’m going to advise up front that I enjoyed reading this introspective book. In most of the 84 pages through a series of letters the author responds to a young poet that wrote to him for advice. In the letters Rilke discusses art, life, sex and religion. Rilke was a poet who was born in Prague in 1875. We learn from the introduction that Rilke was twenty-six when he started writing these letters. He hadn’t yet achieved the literary success he would come to be known for and to a certain extent the advice he was giving was advice he himself was struggling to follow. I think that’s part of what makes the letters so compelling. To me, in writing the letters Rilke was not only politely responding to the young poet but he was also reiterating to himself his personal statement of beliefs. He was big on solitude and looking within to create on your own time table. Rilke writes, “trust yourself and your instincts; even if you go wrong in your judgment, the natural growth of your inner life will gradually, over time, lead you to other insights.” I agree.
I gave this one 4/5 stars. The book only has Rilke’s responses to the young poet. It would have been great to read the letters from the young poet to Rilke. Letters to a Young Poet made me interested in Rilke’s other works which is a sure sign of a good book. I’d recommend this to anyone who is looking for a book that you’ll sit with and reflect on for years to come.
Have a good week!