This book was recommended to me through the podcast “Wonderful!” and I would recommend it to anyone feeling especially young, lost, and vulnerable throughout this summer’s post-graduation season. The book is a collection of letters sent from Rainer Maria Rilke to a young poet looking for advice and critiques of his work. It is a gentle but blunt series of writings on being young and finding your place, about getting to know yourself and your writing deeply and intimately, and about coming to terms with being alone in your growth in the world.
Rilke’s prose is beautiful and reassuring. He answers questions and doubts earnestly. It’s a wonderful guidebook to being a young, creative person in the world. What I have most taken from this book is one citation that says “Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart…live in the question.” It’s all too tempting to want to know everything and have solved every problem right away. Rilke illustrates the many ways in which there is time to live in now, even and especially when you don’t have all the answers.
Find Letters to a Young Poet at Greenfield Library, call # PT2635 .I65 Z488 2011
~ Recommended by Jo Dutilloy, Greenfield Library Circulation Assistant