Letters to a Young Poet - Rainer Maria Rilke

Where was this book read? On the couch and in bed; always with a pen to make notes in the margins.

Where did this book come from? City Light Books in San Francisco, CA


"Be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart and try and love the questions themselves, like locked rooms, like books written in a foreign tongue. Do not now try to uncover answers, they cannot be given to you because you have not been able to live them. And what matters is to live everything. Live the questions for now. Perhaps then you will gradually, without noticing it, live your way into the answer, one distant day in the future."

"Think... of the world that you carry within you."

"We have no reason to be mistrustful of our world, for it is not against us. If it holds terrors, they are our terrors, if it has its abysses these abysses belong to us, if there are dangers then we must try to love them... Perhaps everything terrifying is deep down a helpless thing that needs our help." 

"And otherwise let life take its course. Believe me: life is right, whatever happens."

And an awesome, prophetic quote about women's rights, circa 1904

"One day (there are already reliable signs which speak for it and which begin to spread their light, especially in the northern countries), one day there will be girls and women whose name will no longer just signify the opposite of the male but something in their own right, something which does not make one think of any supplement or limit but only of life and existence; the female human being."

On a scale of 1 to life changing, how important is it that I read this book? Rilke would probably say this is something you must discover for yourself, but I will say, for the sake of your development as a person, read it. 

Buy it or borrow it? I would suggest you own this book so you can have a hay day making margin notes and underlining text. It is a short classic that I'm sure you could find used, with the possible perk of reading other people's margin notes, which has always been fascinating to me.