Aries Poon's Reviews > Letters to a Young Poet

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
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's review
Jan 10, 2011

it was amazing

Do you remember the last time when you felt you were COMPELLED to do something? What was that?

Maybe we should build our life around that kind of necessity.

In an ideal world -- must say again "in an ideal world" -- it will be nice if we find passion in our job, or the things we do for a living. Sometimes we get lost, but that's only human.

Rilke's Letters To A Young Poet is a collection of correspondence between Rilke and a young German Franz Kappus who wanted to be a poet. Kappus kept sending his poems to Rilke and wanted to hear his feedback, but Rilke made a very good point in one of his replies.

"I cannot go into the nature of your verses. With nothing can one approach a work of art so little as with critical words."

Having said that, Rilke questioned Kappus: "Ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night; "must I write?" If you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple "I must", then build your life according to this necessity....... It is enough to feel that one could live without writing, then one must not attempt it at all."

I always wanted to pick up my cello again -- but apparently I can live without playing it. I am drawn to the sound of it but certainly I feel painful playing it.

Last week I met a lady who is a member of a local orchestra. She said the only way to make your music beautiful and touching is "to be one and unified with the instrument... If you're not, don't waste your time."

The message is pretty clear -- sadly.

So, who wants my cello?

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