|photo credit: BluePrince Architectural via photopin cc|
I came across a letter dated February 17, 1903, written by Rilke to a young poet seeking his evaluation of his several poems. I urge you to read it in its entirety HERE, as it has much to say to poets of any era. However, I will reproduce a few lines for those who do not have the time, with the urgency of a Monday, to read everything he wrote.
You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you - no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write?
Thereafter, he gives many valuable suggestions as to how the young man could improve on his art in regard to style and subject matter.
We at the Imaginary Garden have reached the end of an exhaustive test of our commitment to the art of poetry, both in regard to providing an innovative prompt-a-day and by writing to as many as we were able during that time. I do not see NaPoWriMo as a competition, but a personal challenge and a dedication only artists may understand among themselves. Once again, we are here to provide the forum for sharing any poem you have written this last week, or month or year. We are not looking for in-depth criticism of what we do, only affirmation that we have said something in line or verse, which may have touched the consciousness of a reader. This relationship between writer and reader always comes back to communication of the ideas in a supportive environment.