By BBP Intern

We all have that friend: the self-proclaimed poet and diehard romantic who loves to hand out advice that isn’t really helpful, like, at all. Okay, maybe we don’t all have that friend, but, we do have Rainer Maria Rilke. Rilke was kind of a big deal, as far as poets go; he even got fan mail. Franz Kappus, a 19 year-old military cadet, wrote him begging for guidance, and Rilke obliged. This correspondence turned into Letters to a Young Poet, which features Rilke waxing poetic and complaining about his health in equal measure. It has some beautiful writing, but also some pretty crappy advice.

But Rilke is back! In advice column form, at least. He’s here to read your woeful attempts at eloquence and save your poor literary soul — or at least give it a shot. After all, you’re probably too far gone to be saved.

Dear Rilke,
My ink’s run dry, my parchment crumbles, my notebooks have all come undone. From where does your stationery come?
Your humble servant,
Penless and Penniless


Master Rilke,
For every line that I do write, I just can’t seem to get it right, it’s that last line that’s such a fright, never will it rhyme.
Ready to Rhyme


My dear Rilke,
My life’s such a bore, I can’t seem to find anything of interest to write about. Each word is duller than the last. What should I write about if all I know is dreariness and monotony?
Your admirer,
Drowning in dullness


I enjoy writing the occasional ballad, a sonnet here and there, but I can’t support myself on my poetry alone. Should I give up writing entirely, or continue living the life of a poet on the side only?
Torn between eating and poetry


Story by Gena LeBlanc