Rilke’s Advice

       In his book, Letters to a Young Poet, German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, advised the poet, “Ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: Must I write? (If yes) Then build your life according to this necessity.  Your life, even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it.”

Rilke’s birthday was December 4.  His middle name is Maria because his mother wanted a daughter, not a son,a nd used to make him wear dresses.

Rilke believed that poetic inspiration and creativity could spring from the most commonplace events, a man digging in the garden, a woman paring apples, the growl of a dog, etc.  He called these occasions, “Confederates of inspiration.”  Others have called them poetic epiphanies or creative insights. 

Rilke added, “If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it.  Blame yourself,  tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches.”

Yeah, sure.  It is so cold today my %##*@**?&^ car won’t start.  Is that enough?


About Ciletti

Jim Ciletti, an award winning poet, filmmaker, and author, is the 2010-2012, Poet Laureate of the Pikes Peak region, and for 41 years, poet-in-residence for the Orme School Fine Arts Festival. Jim gives many workshops on the writing and performance of poetry, and makes poetry house calls to create personal poetry events. Ciletti loves everything Italian, including cooking for family and friends, and loves to plant garlic, make homemade wine, and eating peaches and plums. "Everyday is Christmas, but you don't always get everything you ask for. Sometimes more. Poetry celebrates life."
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