Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Memoir
Rainer Maria Rilke Letters to a Young Poet

By Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

Letters to a Young Poet was first published in 1929, with a Letter from a Young Worker originally published in 1933. My review is for the latest clothbound edition from Penguin which was published February 23rd and translated by Charlie Louth.

Letters to a Young Poet is a collection of letters that Rainer Maria Rilke wrote to Franz Xaver Kappus over a short number of years. These ten letters provide the reader with the most incredible insights into the mind of Rilke as he passed on his words of wisdom to Franz Xaver Kappus, a young and impressionable cadet based in the Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt. Each letter is well deliberated on, providing enlightenment and encouragement to inspiring poets and writers that is still relevant today.

“Read as little as possible in the way of aesthetics and criticism – it will either be partisan views , fossilized and made meaningless in its lifeless rigidity, or it will be neat wordplay, where one opinion will triumph one day and the opposite the next. Works of art are infinitely solitary and nothing is less likely to reach them than criticism. Only love can grasp them and hold them and do them justice.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

The loneliness of an artist and writer can be a very profound experience. Many, over the years, have taken comfort and have felt their creativity enriched, by taking strength from the messages conveyed within these pages. Letters to a Young Poet, including, Letter from a Young Worker, is an outstanding collection. It is a perfect introduction to Rilke’s work and into the mind of this most humble of men.

Rainer Maria Rilke Letters to a Young Poet“Where a great and unique person speaks, the rest of us should be silent”
– Franz Xaver Kappus, Berlin, June 1929.

(c) Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

Order your copy online here.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get all of the latest from writing.ie delivered directly to your inbox.

Featured books