The Poet's Guide to Life

The Wisdom of Rilke

By Rainer Maria Rilke; Ulrich Baer (Translator)
(Modern Library, Hardcover, 9780679642923, 215pp.)

Publication Date: March 22, 2005

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Description

“You have to live life to the limit, not according to each day but by plumbing its depth.”
–RAINER MARIA RILKE

In this treasury of uncommon wisdom and spiritual insight, the best writings and personal philosophies of one of the twentieth century’s greatest poets, Rainer Maria Rilke, are gleaned by Ulrich Baer from thousands of pages of never-before translated correspondence.

The result is a profound vision of how the human drive to create and understand can guide us in every facet of life. Arranged by theme–from everyday existence with others to the exhilarations of love and the experience of loss, from dealing with adversity to the nature of inspiration, here are Rilke’s thoughts on how to live life in a meaningful way:

Life and Living: “How good life is. How fair, how incorruptible, how impossible to deceive: not even by strength, not even by willpower, and not even by courage. How everything remains what it is and has only this choice: to come true, or to exaggerate and push too far.”

Art: “The work of art is adjustment, balance, reassurance. It can be neither gloomy nor full of rosy hopes, for its essence consists of justice.”

Faith: “I personally feel a greater affinity to all those religions in which the middleman is less essential or almost entirely suppressed.”

Love: “To be loved means to be ablaze. To love is: to shine with inexhaustible oil. To be loved is to pass away; to love is to last.”

Intimate, stylistically masterful, brilliantly translated, and brimming with the wonder and passion of Rilke, The Poet’s Guide to Life is comparable to the best works of wisdom in all of literature and a perfect book for all occasions.




About the Author
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) is considered one of the greatest poets who ever wrote in the German language. His most famous works are Sonnets to Orpheus, The Duino Elegies, Letters to a Young Poet, and The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. His collected work is comprised of hundreds of other poems, essays, plays, and stories.

Ulrich Baer is Vice Provost of Globalization and Multiculturalism at New York University.
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