Paula Modersohn-Becker‘s portrait of Rainer Maria Rilke was painted in Paris in 1906 [Source: Wikimedia Commons]. After her untimely death a year later, Rilke wrote the haunting masterpiece, Requiem for a Friend, in her memory.
Ranier Maria Rilke: Letters To A Young Poet
This site publishes all ten of Rilke’s letters written between 1903-1908. The translations are by Stephen Mitchell. Since the site went up in 1999, the pages have attracted 289009 views.
From Letter One
And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it. So, dear Sir, I can’t give you any advice but this: to go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create. Accept that answer, just as it is given to you, without trying to interpret it. Perhaps you will discover that you are called to be an artist. Then take the destiny upon yourself, and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what reward might come from outside. For the creator must be a world for himself and must find everything in himself and in Nature, to whom his whole life is devoted.
Rainier Maria Rilke
Paris; February 17, 1903