Through reading excerpts from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke and Black Swan Green by David Mitchell, Rilke’s counsel to the young poet applies greatly to the main character in David Mitchell’s story, Jason Taylor. Both of the works are to poets from someone who is giving advice, however, Jason Taylor does not seek advice, while the young poet does. The advice given to the poets is similar and helpful to their cause.
In Rilke’s letter to the young poet, Rilke tells the poet that his poetry must be unique in style and words, “Don’t write love poems; avoid those forms that re too facile and ordinary: they are the hardest to work with, and it takes a great, fully ripened power to create something individual… “( from Letters to a Young Poet 34-36). This advice applies to Jason because Jason tries to make his poetry “pretty’ with beautiful words to try and make them better. “Beautiful words ruin your poetry.
A touch of beauty enhances a dish, but you throw a hill of it into the pot! ” (Black Swan Green p. 147). Rilke’s advice that beauty is within him and surrounding him by nature also applies to this. Instead of using beautiful words, work from things in nature, “For the creator must be a world for himself and must find everything in himself and in Nature.. ” (LTAYP 6162) Rilke explains to the young poet in his letters that you need to be yourself in your poetry and bring yourself into it. If you’re everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches.. ” (LTAYP 41-43). This advice to be yourself and find things within your life is advice that also applies to Jason Taylor. Jason already expresses ome emotion in his poetry, but he hides behind a pseudonym. Rilke’s advice of being yourself in your poetry would assist Jason. By putting his real name on his poems and becoming more personal, his poetry will become better.
Other advice Rilke gives to the young poet is that in order to write good poetry, you need to find yourself and work of experiences, for the things that you have dealt with personally, make better poetry. Rilke also says that someone’s best piece of art comes from when they were lowest in life in a dark place, like if you were placed in prison. This is ecause you still have all your experiences and childhood and your home is always within you, therefore, you’ll always be able to find the inspiration within yourself to write great poetry. “… ecause for the creator there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in non of the world’s sound -wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that Jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attention to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your olitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people pass by, far in the distance” (LTAYP 43-50).
This advice applies to Jason and his writing because Jason needs to work on being himself in his poetry, being honest, and finding inspiration to make his poetry better. Rilke using words such as ‘price, treasure, riches, and Jewel’ to show how important one’s own childhood and memories are. This is important to Jason because he is still in his childhood so he could make a beautiful work of art out of these years. To Jason, these ut his peers won’t accept him if they found out about his poetry or his stammer.
Rilke would tell him that in this moment of life, if he was true and honest, his best poetry would form. Rilke most important piece of advice that would apply to Jason is his emphasis’s that writing poetry needs to be something more than what you want to do, but instead writing should be something a poet needs to do, “Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if ou were forbidden to write.
This is most important of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of the night: must I write? ” (LTAYP 24 – 28). This is important to Jason and his writing because Jason is embarrassed about his writing and hides behind a misnomer. If Jason realizes he MUST write, he needs to be true and start putting ‘Jason Taylor’ on his poems instead of ‘Elliot Bolivar’. If he looks within himself and realizes he doesn’t have to write and he could live on without, Rilke suggests to “renounce becoming a poet” (LTAYP 64).
Jason uses his poetry because he does not tammer and “Hangman” does not come out in his writing, but if he can live without it, Rilke would tell him to set down the pencil. Jason Taylor would find Rilke’s advice and mentoring very beneficial. In Black Swan Green, Jason get’s similar advice from Madame Crommelynck but I think Rilke’s advice would have helped Jason more. Main pieces of advice that would help Jason are that he needs to be true and himself and fgure out if he needs to write, and to remember, that no matter where he is in life, his home and inspiration is within him. He will always have what he needs to write inside of him.
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