***Letters to a Young Poet
by Rainer Maria Rillke
translated by Joan M. Burnham
Reviewed November 3, 2001.
New World Library. 2000. 101 pages.
This book consists of ten letters that writer Rainer Maria Rilke wrote
to Franz Kappus in the early 1900s. They are part inspiration, part
philosophy. Anyone interested in the creative arts will find them
There were many parts that I found thought-provoking. One was
the statement, “To feel that one could live without writing is enough indication
that, in fact, one should not.” I’m not sure whether or not I agree
with that. Is that part of the idea that you can only focus on one
thing in life if you wish to be great? Ursula K. LeGuin is the one
who got me questioning that idea in her Tales From Earthsea.
women’s lives made up of many different foci, at different times and seasons
of our lives? When I think about the many different interests in my
life and the many different hats I wear, each one has enriched me in its
own way. I’m a Mom, a wife, a mathematician, a library technician,
a writer, a reader, a knitter, a musician, and lots of other things as well.
Could I be Great if I was only one of those things? Maybe. But
part of me feels that I would be poorer.
On the other hand, even though I’m not working on my book these days,
I am writing these book reviews, writing e-mails and journal entries.
So perhaps I’m one who “must” write after all. Perhaps this is what
he means. As I said, the book got me thinking.
Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.
All rights reserved.
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