Rainer Maria Rilke, 2000 (New World Library Edition) | 128 pages
I’m crazy about letters. To me, letters—especially hand-written ones, sent via snail mail (oh, and I love it even more when the letters are illustrated), are romantic. It levitates me: the sight of an envelope with my name written on it; the dampened stamp; the guessing of the sender; the hissing sound of the papers; the first sentence, the imaginary voice of a “Dear …”
I remembered myself, in such a young age, sending hand-written letters as an ultimate gift to people I care about the most. Later in life, it was also become clear to me that I feel more comfortable of writing stories and prose in the form of indirect letters. Letters are personal. Letters are the words left unspoken.
Letters to A Young Poet is a collection of letters written by Rainer Maria Rilke to Franz Kappuz, a young man trying to choose between a literary career and entering the army. The letters, coming from one of the greatest poet, are of course deep and poetic, spanning over the issues of dealing with self-doubts, making choices, living life, and embracing love. Reading the letters, you would feel as if the letters were directed to you.
The book is a jewel of deep and profound words, the kind of book that you’d like to pass on to your seventeen-year-old kid as they started to enter adulthood.
“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.” – Rilke.