When a young student at a military academy mails some of his poetry to the great poet Rainer Maria Rilke, seeking advice, he initiates years of correspondence, during which Rilke expresses his most personal insights into the artist's relationship with life, the interior needs of the individual growing towards maturity, and how the impulse to artistic creation can and should be a source of abiding and developing happiness even for those who cannot become artists.
Written in Rilke's early, struggling years, Letters to a Young Poet is a work of beauty and urgency. Its discussion of the young soldier's difficulties in finding his identity and vocation, mirrored in Rilke's own life, have resonated with generations of readers for over a century, and it stands as one of the most beloved and widely read sets of letters in the world.
This new translation by S ren Filipski is both accurate and fluid, capturing the intense, rhapsodic energy of Rilke's writing as well as the precision of his ideas.
...I cannot think of a better book to put into the hands of any young would-be poet, as an inspirational guide to poetry and to surviving as a poet in a hostile world. -- Harry Fainlight The Times
Rainer Maria Rilke was born in 1875 in Prague. He studied literature, art history and philosophy in both Munich and Prague, and is often considered one of the German language's greatest 20th century poets. His two most famous verse sequences are the Sonnets to Orpheus and the Duino Elegies; his two most famous prose works are the Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. Charlie Louth was born in 1969 in Bristol. He is a Fellow of the Queen's College, Oxford, where he lectures in German. He is the author of Holderlin and the Dynamics of Translation (1998). Lewis Hyde is a poet, essayist, translator, and cultural critic. A MacArthur Fellow and former director of undergraduate creative writing at Harvard University, Hyde is a Fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.