Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rilke's "New Way" of Writing

In his book on the craft of writing, Next Word, Better Word, poet Stephen Dobyns explains how the great German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, around 1907, attempted to find a “new way” of writing. Instead of waiting for inspiration to engulf him, he would just begin to write on a particular subject, and the inspiration would appear as he wrote.

He actually caught such an idea from another great, the sculptor Auguste Rodin, for whom Rilke had worked as a secretary. Rodin often made preliminary studies of his sculptures in clay. He often didn’t plan on what he wanted to make, but once engaged, inspiration would fall and the subject revealed itself. ◦

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