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Letters To A Young Poet

Young poet Franz Xaver Kappus wrote to Rainer Maria Rilke in early 1903. To his delight and surprise, the poet wrote back to him. They continued a correspondence that lasted for nearly six years. Below are ten letters that Rilke wrote to Kappus, advising the young poet on poetry and life.

  • Introduction  [New!]
    by Franz Xaver Kappus - June 1929
    I found myself writing a covering letter in which I unreservedly laid bare my heart as never before and never since to any second human being...
  • Letter 1  [New!]
    by Rainer Maria Rilke - February 17, 1903
    Your letter arrived just a few days ago...
  • Letter 2  [New!]
    by Rainer Maria Rilke - April 5, 1903
    Irony: Don't let yourself be controlled by it, especially during uncreative moments...
  • Letter 3  [New!]
    by Rainer Maria Rilke - April 23, 1903
    Read as little as possible of literary criticism... no means of approach is so useless as criticism... Always trust yourself and your own feeling, as opposed to argumentations, discussions, or introductions of that sort...
  • Letter 4  [New!]
    by Rainer Maria Rilke - July 16, 1903
    I feel that there is no one anywhere who can answer for you those questions and feelings which, in their depths, have a life of their own; for even the most articulate people are unable to help, since what words point to is so very delicate, is almost unsayable...
  • Letter 5  [New!]
    by Rainer Maria Rilke - October 29, 1903
    Rome (if one has not yet become acquainted with it) makes one feel stifled with sadness for the first few days: through the gloomy and lifeless museum-atmosphere that it exhales...
  • Letter 6  [New!]
    by Rainer Maria Rilke - December 23, 1903
    These are the very hours during which solitude grows; for its growing is painful as the growing of boys and sad as the beginning of spring...
  • Letter 7  [New!]
    by Rainer Maria Rilke - May 14, 1904
    Most people have (with the help of conventions) turned their solutions toward what is easy and toward the easiest side of the easy; but it is clear that we must trust in what is difficult; everything alive trusts in it...
  • Letter 8  [New!]
    by Rainer Maria Rilke - August 12, 1904
    If only it were possible for us to see farther than our knowledge reaches, and even a little beyond the outworks of our presentiment, perhaps we would bear our sadnesses with greater trust...
  • Letter 9  [New!]
    by Rainer Maria Rilke - November 4, 1904
    All feelings that concentrate you and lift you up are pure; only that feeling is impure which grasps just one side of your being and thus distorts you...
  • Letter 10  [New!]
    by Rainer Maria Rilke - December 26, 1908
    It must be immense, this silence, in which sounds and movements have room, and if one thinks that along with all this the presence of the distant sea also resounds, perhaps as the innermost note in this prehistoric harmony...

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