Letters to a Young Poet

Narrated by: Dan Stevens, Max Deacon
Length: 1 hr and 51 mins
Categories: Classics, World Literature
4.5 out of 5 stars (113 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Rilke's powerfully touching letters to an aspiring young poet, now available in downloadable audio.

At the start of the 20th century, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote a series of letters to a young officer cadet, advising him on writing, love, sex, suffering, and the nature of advice itself. These profound and lyrical letters have since become hugely influential for generations of writers and artists of all kinds, including Lady Gaga and Patti Smith. With honesty, elegance, and a deep understanding of the loneliness that often comes with being an artist, Rilke's letters are an endless source of inspiration and comfort. Lewis Hyde's new introduction explores the context in which these letters were written and how the author embraced his isolation as a creative force.

This edition also includes Rilke's later work The Letter from the Young Worker.

©2001 Rainier Maria Rilke (P)2014 Penguin

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An exquisite and refreshing literary work

I felt the amber of my my soul ignite with each utter word, I cannot imagine not knowing this work

4 people found this helpful

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A Chest of Treasures for any Artist

When I purchased this, I only knew I love the poetry of Rilke and that I had read many positive reviews of this compilation of his letters to a young poet.

I had no idea that this is a true chest of treasures. I purchased the Kindle version to go along with listening to this audiobook (the narration of which is outstanding). I kept placing bookmarks on the audible version and then highlighted the text in Kindle. This is quite a futile endeavor because, as I found, well over half deserves special emphasis.

I will share only my favorite quote, after saying that this book of letters, and particularly this translation into English, is worth a credit in my opinion for its encouragement of creativity and a love of life and for the testimonials from the great artists over the past decades who have been deeply and positively affected by these letters.

"... try, like the first human being, to say what you see and experience and love and lose. Don't write love poems; avoid at first those forms which are too familiar and habitual: they are the hardest, for you need great maturity and strength to produce something of your own in a domain where good and sometimes brilliant examples have been handed down to us in abundance. For this reason, flee general subjects and take refuge in those offered by your own day-to-day life; depict your sadnesses and desires, passing thoughts and faith in some kind of beauty--depict all this with intense, quiet, humble sincerity and make use of whatever you find about you to express yourself, the images from your dreams and the things in your memory. If your everyday life seems to lack material, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to summon up its riches, for there is no lack for him who creates and no poor, trivial place."

9 people found this helpful

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Beautiful, one disappointment

This was my first "reading" of Letters to a Young Poet, so I can't compare it to other translations, but I thought it was absolutely beautiful. The narration is perfect--Dan Stevens is 100% engaged in the reading--I'll make a point to look for other titles he's narrated. The one disappointment for me if that I was very much looking forward to Lewis Hyde's introduction, which is actually not included.

2 people found this helpful

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  • 03-26-18

Beautifully Read

Read with such feeling by Dan Stevens that I'd kill for performances of Rilke's other work.

1 person found this helpful

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Letters to a young poet

I heard the title of this book from one of my favorite movies called sister act. I decided to check the book out by just sampling it. After hearing a little taste of the book I was interested, game on. A letter between two people set in 1904. The book was so captivating I listened to the book in just one day. This book still amazes me, gets my brain thinking. It also opens my eyes to a watershed moment. It’s kind of like a love story or a friendship that never ends. All i have to say is this book was fantastic and I highly recommend it to my fellow readers.

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beautifully written and read

heard over and over again, so poetic advice that i enjoy so much, all give me lot of courage