April 23, 2011

It Will Reveal Itself

working in her studio

Seek the inner depth of things, and when they lead you to the edge of a great discovery, discern whether it arises from a necessity of your being. Either this discovery will strike you as superficial and you will shed it, or it will reveal itself as intrinsic to you and grow into a strong and honest tool of your art.

Viareggio, April 5, 1903
Letters to a Young Poet


  1. i love rilke's letters to a young poet...he's so honest with this young man and so encouraging - and yep - love what he has to tell about seeking the inner depth of things - so often we are content with what is visible on the surface

  2. The simplicity of Rilke's words belie the amount of work, energy and time involved in this process. :-)

    But it's the best work (maybe the only important work), and doesn't feel like a chore, for it is excavating the soul for what will move us forward.

    I am most interested in how the discovery becomes the tool for him. Personal mythology as methodology! The matter of a life that becomes the window we see through, or the mirror in which we see ourselves in the world.

  3. The way there is perilous -- an inner depth can also be an abyss -- and as Jung said of the difference between James Joyce and his daughter Lucia, one can either dive there or drown. Or drain the whole damn thing and be done with such nonsense. I think reading Rilke's "Letters to A Young Poet" now 20 years ago was so important for coming to understand that delving into my history in verse wasn't therapy or masturbation but a form of exegesis through exhumation, finding the mystery in the history, all the great transformations of the mystics and anchorites buried there in the wreckage and silt, the busted bottles and tossed brassieres. The picture is a great accompaniment. Wasn't it Michelangelo who said he sculpted by removing everything that wasn't perfect? No wonder Rilke refused psychoanalysis -- his demons were intrinsic to the work as were his Angels. - Brendan

  4. there are riches beneath the surface; jewels, serpents, hobgoblins, roots, all with stories and ripe with reason if you are available to it. see them, hold them, taste them, become them and then try to leave them be. their dendritic presence will meld with that of your own and become inseparable, indistinguishable even! steven

  5. exegesis through exhumation!

    perhaps we (even) live in metaphors and it is up to us to crack them?

    the statue is a painfully beautiful accompaniment but disturbing too. it seems as though she is cutting into a model, sculpting the leg as such. and the violence of the missing hand! keep what is intrinsic, shed all else. haunting, really.


  6. beautiful...so happy to have discovered your blog today!

  7. Absolutely, Ruth. I think so. Seeking the inner depth of things. It's the best work. It's what I live for.

  8. Hello, I am so happy to have found this
    amazing blog. Rilke, touches my soul.
    And the lovely photos. you have are a
    perfect marriage.

  9. What a terrific resource for the book! I am not a blogger and it took me some time to understand how to connect. This entry reminds me of "Diving into the Wreck", except that Rilke point out we might find a dead end. That leaves us to decide when a dive is unproductive - a bit tricky.


  10. What a splendid resource for the book! I am new to blogging, and it took me some time to figure out how to connect. Today's entry reminds me of "Diving into the Wreck", but Rilke adds that we may, at times, hit a dead end. We are left to decide how long to continue diving, before moving on - a challenging task.


"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Go ahead, bloom recklessly!