The Poet’s Guide to Life: The Wisdom of Rilke, edited and translated by Ulrich Baer

Before Rilke composed his poetry in terms that would force a confrontation with possibility, he answered letters that explained his views in plain and truthful words, the imagery of which would be used later in his poems.  In other words, first he issued forth his wisdom, then he dressed it up for his poetry.  This book is a collection of excerpts from those letters, organized by subject matter, that offers a more direct means of engaging the poet in a way that is no less beautiful and thought-provoking than his finished works.

I find that the more I learn of Rilke’s words, the less words I have.  It seems like gilding the lily, to be quite honest.  The effect on me is profound and leaves me somewhat emotionally raw as I contemplate.  As with his Letters to a Young Poet, I will be revisiting this time and again.

5 stars

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