17 February 2008

letters to a young poet

I've been reading "Letters to a Young Poet", a book about a young writer Franz Kappus. He wrote Rainer Maria Rilke looking for guidance and critique on some of his poems. The result is a five year correspondence on what it is to be an artist and person. I will end the evening with a quote from Rilke written exactly 105 years ago today (and I would like to put the word "photograph" in place of the word "write"). I paired it with one of my favorite photographs by Francesca Woodman, "Self Portrait at 13":

"...No one can advise or help you–no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: MUST I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet the solemn question with a strong, simple ‘I MUST,’ then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose."
-Rainer Maria Rilke, February 17th, 1903


Gia said...

Beautiful blog, Sara!! Glad to hear you're reading a good book, too :)

Two Mittens said...

Inspiring. Thank you.

Kathryn and Brooke said...

this book was my "bible" during college and the following several years after. i referred to it constantly- underlined sentiments, folded important pages (which meant the small book was beautifully torn up!), gave it as gifts to people... i would say Rilke was a teacher and a guide thru those years... he is still among my 3 favorite writers (Rumi and Paulo Coelho being other 2). Here's something for you that i liked & read this morning:
On the art of the sword
Paulo Coelho
on November 13, 2008

"Many centuries ago, in the days of the samurais, a text was written in Japan on the spiritual art of wielding the sword: “Impassive comprehension”, also known as “The Treatise of Tahlan”, the name of the author (a fencing master and Zen monk). Below are some extracts that I have adapted:

Keeping calm

Whoever understands the meaning of life knows that nothing has a beginning and an end, and so he does not become anguished. He fights for what he believes in without trying to prove anything to anyone, keeping the quiet calm of one who has had the courage to choose his destiny.

This holds true for both love and war. "

(and photography, yes ? ;) Kathryn

Kathryn and Brooke said...

another for you sara!

Published by
Paulo Coelho
on November 13, 2008
in Q&A

Q: If you were offered one of your dreams to come true, what would you prefer?

A: "I don’t like to think of “being offered” a dream. I’ve learnt that this is a pointless fantasy. Reality is rather on the side of those that know that they have to “fight for their dreams”. My personal legend has always been to become a writer. I’m glad I can say that i’m fulfilling my dream. But this must not the interpreted as “the end of the line” – on the contrary – I have to commit everyday in order to stay in this path that I’ve chosen. One is constantly challenged – even by success."

journey forward xo k