->''Every angel is terrifying. And yet, alas\\
I sing to you, almost fatal birds of the soul, \\
knowing what you are.''
->''Art too is just a way of living.''
-->--''Letters to a Young Poet''
Rainer Maria Rilke (full name: [[OverlyLongName Rene Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke]]) (1875 - 1926) was an Austrian poet, and one of the most famous writers of German poetry (though he also wrote a good deal in French.) He's also famous for a short collection of letters between him and a young poet who wrote to him for guidance (called ''[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Letters to a Young Poet]]'' that contains many meditations of poetry and the nature of poetry.
A prolific letter writer, many of his letters have been collected in several volumes.
* ''The Book of Hours'' (1899-1903)
* ''Duino Elegies'' (1922)
* ''Sonnets to Orpheus'' (1922)
* ''Letters to a Young Poet'' (1934)
!!His poetry contains examples of:
* ClassicalMythology: A lot of characters from Greek myth (Orpheus, Apollo, Hermes) wander through Rilke's poems.
* EmbarrassingMiddleName: ''Maria''
** That’s more of a ValuesDissonance case, as giving the middle name ‘Maria’ to boys is common practice in many Catholic countries.
* LostInTranslation: Can occur with Rilke's poems. There are many translations of his poems, especially of ''Duino Elegies'' and ''Sonnets to Orpheus,'' and the way the poems vary from translator to translator can make you wonder how much of Rilke's original intent is getting through.
* RaisedAsTheOppositeGender: Rilke's mother, in mourning after losing a baby daughter after a week of life, dressed Rilke in dresses throughout his early childhood.
* ReclusiveArtist: Was a big fan of having his own space. Not to the extent of other artists (like HarperLee or J.D. Salinger) as he did exchange a lot (a lot) of correspondence with readers and contemporary artists.
* SanctuaryOfSolitude: The Muzot Castle in Switzerland, where Rilke wrote most of both ''Sonnets to Orpheus'' and ''Duino Elegies'' in a very short amount of time.
* ShoutOut: ''Sonnets to Orpheus'' is chock-full of allusions to the Greek myth.
* TakeThatCritics: Says in ''Letters to a Young Poet'':
--->Read as little as possible of literary criticism - such things are either partisan opinions, which have become petrified and meaningless, hardened and empty of life, or else they are just clever word-games, in which one view wins today, and tomorrow the opposite view. Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism.