Monday, July 5, 2010

Dead Mentor Poet: A Dozen Things I've Learned about Rainer Rilke

1. As a teenager, Rene (as he was called as a boy) had horrible acne.

2. Throughout his life he was plagued by profound headaches.

3. At age 17, he ran off with Olga Blumauer to an "obscure" hotel in Vienna. It was three days before they were found and brought back. The relationship was over - as was his career in business.

4. Rilke's mother dressed him as a girl complete with long gowns and braids until he entered pre-school. This was not the custom of the day.

5. He wrote many plays. Many bad plays.

6. Rilke needed to pay a "subvention" to publish  his first four books.

7. His early books were always published right before Christmas - the perfect holiday gift.

8. He founded and edited a small journal while still in Prague. After a few issues it went under.

9. The first 1, 2, 3, 4+ books of poems Rilke wrote were unimpressive --

10. He wanted to live a life as both a poet and a military man.

11. There were no signs of greatness for a very long time ...

12. Even Rilke wrote badly.


  1. A poet and a military man? Now that's an unlikely dual ambition.

  2. 當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。............................................................

  3. If his first four+ books of poems were "unimpressive," then there's still hope for me...! Thanks for this.