Letters to a Young Poet Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Which letter from the young poet is Rilke responding to with his fourth letter?

2. How old is the young poet when he begins corresponding with Rilke?

3. What does Rilke call himself in relation to the young poet at the end of the first letter?

4. What does Rilke advise the young poet to buy in letter three?

5. From where does Rilke write the fourth letter?

Short Essay Questions

1. What can the reader infer about the content of the first letter the young poet wrote to Rilke from reading Rilke's response?

2. What does Rilke imply about the nature of good art when he tells the young poet that if poetry is inspired by the young poet's soul-searching, he does not need to ask anyone else if the poetry is good?

3. What can be inferred about Rilke's health from letters two and three?

4. What does Rilke mean when he tells the young poet in the first letter that the poet's work has "no individual style"?

5. In letter four, Rilke says that "even the best err in words when they are meant to mean most delicate and almost inexpressible things." What does this mean?

6. Rilke says that artists remains unaware of their best qualities. Why is this?

7. At the end of letter four, Rilke mentions the young poet's new profession. What is this profession?

8. What does Rilke mean when, in the first letter, he suggests that critical commentary on art results in "happy misunderstandings"?

9. What does Rilke mean when, in letter four, he says that man "might be more reverent toward his fruitfulness, which is but one, whether it seems mental or physical..."?

10. What does Rilke mean when in letter three he says his books "no longer belong to me"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Explain to what extent the young poet seems to have followed Rilke's advice and how it seems he develops over the course of his correspondence with Rilke.

Essay Topic 2

Explain and analyze Rilke's views on careerism. How could the time in which Rilke lived have affected his views on careerism?

Essay Topic 3

How is Rilke's advice to the young poet applicable for 21st century writers? How is his advice not applicable for 21st century writers?

(see the answer keys)

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