“You have to live life to the limit, not according to each day but by plumbing its depth.”
–RAINER MARIA RILKE

In this treasury of uncommon wisdom and spiritual insight, the best writings and personal philosophies of one of the twentieth century’s greatest poets, Rainer Maria Rilke, are gleaned by Ulrich Baer from thousands of pages of never-before translated correspondence.

The result is a profound vision of how the human drive to create and understand can guide us in every facet of life. Arranged by theme–from everyday existence with others to the exhilarations of love and the experience of loss, from dealing with adversity to the nature of inspiration, here are Rilke’s thoughts on how to live life in a meaningful way:

Life and Living: “How good life is. How fair, how incorruptible, how impossible to deceive: not even by strength, not even by willpower, and not even by courage. How everything remains what it is and has only this choice: to come true, or to exaggerate and push too far.”

Art: “The work of art is adjustment, balance, reassurance. It can be neither gloomy nor full of rosy hopes, for its essence consists of justice.”

Faith: “I personally feel a greater affinity to all those religions in which the middleman is less essential or almost entirely suppressed.”

Love: “To be loved means to be ablaze. To love is: to shine with inexhaustible oil. To be loved is to pass away; to love is to last.”

Intimate, stylistically masterful, brilliantly translated, and brimming with the wonder and passion of Rilke, The Poet’s Guide to Life is comparable to the best works of wisdom in all of literature and a perfect book for all occasions.


From the Hardcover edition.
From the writer of the classic Letters to a Young Poet, reflections on grief and loss, collected and published here in one volume for the first time.

“A great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins

“A treasure . . . The solace Rilke offers is uncommon, uplifting and necessary.”––The Guardian

Gleaned from Rainer Maria Rilke’s voluminous, never-before-translated letters to bereaved friends and acquaintances, The Dark Interval is a profound vision of the mourning process and a meditation on death’s place in our lives. Following the format of Letters to a Young Poet, this book arranges Rilke’s letters into an uninterrupted sequence, showcasing the full range of the great author’s thoughts on death and dying, as well as his sensitive and moving expressions of consolation and condolence.

Presented with care and authority by master translator Ulrich Baer, The Dark Interval is a literary treasure, an indispensable resource for anyone searching for solace, comfort, and meaning in a time of grief.

Praise for The Dark Interval

“Even though each of these letters of condolence is personalized with intimate detail, together they hammer home Rilke’s remarkable truth about the death of another: that the pain of it can force us into a ‘deeper . . . level of life’ and render us more ‘vibrant.’ Here we have a great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins

“As we live our lives, it is possible to feel not sadness or melancholy but a rush of power as the life of others passes into us. This rhapsodic volume teaches us that death is not a negation but a deepening experience in the onslaught of existence. What a wise and victorious book!”—Henri Cole
From the writer of the classic Letters to a Young Poet, reflections on grief and loss, collected and published here in one volume for the first time.

“A great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins

“A treasure . . . The solace Rilke offers is uncommon, uplifting and necessary.”––The Guardian

Gleaned from Rainer Maria Rilke’s voluminous, never-before-translated letters to bereaved friends and acquaintances, The Dark Interval is a profound vision of the mourning process and a meditation on death’s place in our lives. Following the format of Letters to a Young Poet, this book arranges Rilke’s letters into an uninterrupted sequence, showcasing the full range of the great author’s thoughts on death and dying, as well as his sensitive and moving expressions of consolation and condolence.

Presented with care and authority by master translator Ulrich Baer, The Dark Interval is a literary treasure, an indispensable resource for anyone searching for solace, comfort, and meaning in a time of grief.

Praise for The Dark Interval

“Even though each of these letters of condolence is personalized with intimate detail, together they hammer home Rilke’s remarkable truth about the death of another: that the pain of it can force us into a ‘deeper . . . level of life’ and render us more ‘vibrant.’ Here we have a great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins

“As we live our lives, it is possible to feel not sadness or melancholy but a rush of power as the life of others passes into us. This rhapsodic volume teaches us that death is not a negation but a deepening experience in the onslaught of existence. What a wise and victorious book!”—Henri Cole
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