There’s nothing like reading a book of poetry while drinking a hot cup of coffee, especially during this time of year. There is a poet better known for his unusual cause of death; he died after being pricked by a rose thorn when in actuality he suffered from leukemia. The poet’s name is Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926). I will replace this editorial with an excerpt from Rilke’s letter written in response to an aspiring young poet. Although this is a personal letter, I am certain that our young readers will take with them some life lessons. It is my hope that the readers attempt to replace the word “poem” with their major field of study as I have done.
There is just one thing I would like to say to you. Although there are signs of uniqueness within your poems, there is no style that you can truly call your own. . . . You have asked me how I feel about your poems. I am sure it is only natural for you to want to receive the acknowledgement of others. Dare I say it; refrain from doing so in the future. I believe that at the moment you are looking outside for answers when you should be looking within. That is why I am telling you not to do this because in actuality no one can help you or give you advice on your poems. Other people, including myself, cannot take on that role for you.
In my opinion, there is only one solution and that is to constantly dig deeper. This will be the driving force in steadily writing your poems. Afterwards, the desire to write poems will take root deep within your heart giving you the answer to the question – “Would you rather die than quit writing poems?” Listen carefully to the voice from deep within and if you can find a clear answer to that question, then without hesitation keep your faith in the inevitable. Even if moments in your life may seem useless to others, you must believe in yourself and value your life no matter what.
Try to choose things from your ordinary life. Express your own thoughts and convictions. Although your life may seem insignificant, instead of blaming your situation, blame yourself for not extracting the abundance from your ordinary life. Poverty does not exist among those that create in life you should never dismiss or disregard anything. . . . Then your unique qualities will shine through and you are able to create space that you can call your own. What others have to say about your poems is just loud noise that will disappear eventually. . . . Poems that have come from within will be great despite the opinions of other people. . . . Creators need to become to become their own world. . . . I truly hope that you are steadfast in your ways achieving growth and development by finding the answers within yourself. Do not expect answers to your questions from the outside world because they can only be found from deep within after much reflection and contemplation.
As the year is coming to a close, how about looking within? Ultimately, the answer lies within us.
Translated by Julia Kim