• In the introduction to the volume, Franz Xaver Kappus, the young poet to whom Rilke is writing in the correspondence presented, briefly describes how he begins to write to Rilke in efforts at improving his own poetry and the lasting effect that Rilke's letters have on him.
• In letter 1, written from Paris in 1903, Rilke declines to provide critical assessment of the young poet's works, saying that critical commentary is useless since art cannot be encapsulated with criticism. Art, Rilke says, is "inexpressible."
• Rilke tells the young poet that while two of his pieces show glimmers of promise, his work in general lacks an "individual style." He advises the poet against seeking the opinions of external parties and encourages him rather to look inside himself to improve his writing. The poet must discover if he is truly a poet by candidly answering the self-imposed question "Must I write...
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