letters to a young poet

The Necessity of Your Being: Rilke on Discovering an Artist's Voice

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Seek the depth of things, for irony never penetrates there - and when you go thus to the edge of what is great, find out at the same time whether this form of comprehension arises from a necessity of your being. Under the influence of solemn events, it will either fall away from you, if it is a thing of chance, or, if it really belongs to you and is innate in you, it will grow stronger and become a serious tool and take its place among the means by which you will have to build up your art. - Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet