Note: This is a parody of Rainer Maria Rilke’s famous book, “Letters to a Young Poet”. In a nutshell, the book contains the correspondence between Franz Xaver Krappus, a young man riveted by Rilke’s extraordinary poetry, and Rilke (Franz kept sending Rilke his poetry).
In the opening of the book, Krappus (this was his real name, not a name created as commentary on his poetry) writes:
“After our talk, I decided to send Rainer Maria Rilke my poetic attempts and to ask him for his judgement.”
Below is a riff of what I think Rilke would have sent back in a modern email correspondence (Rilke was born in 1875 and died in 1926).
I have been receiving your vapid attempts at poetry,
which bastardize the dignity of this sacred art form, degrade women, the elderly, and the obese, and often strike me as low budget beer commercials employing a rhythm scheme devised for toddlers.
Additionally, I have been receiving the forwards of all the juvenile crap you have found on the Web and consider entertaining; please remove me from this list at once.
Franz, writing cannot be taught, as writing is simply a tool used by a deep soul to dig a tunnel from a vast, lonely, and earthy place up to the piercing, diminutive, and sun-lit world. Deep souls, Franz, cannot be taught or bought in a weekend writing seminar.
Having said this, if you are still intent on attending my writing seminar this weekend, I will gladly take your money, as I have few other sources of income and must often sacrifice integrity for practicality.
I can only hope that my direct and repeated bitchslaps to your shallow soul will cause something to be felt in your innermost core, and this, you see, is all I (or anyone else) can do to help you grow as a writer.
For $15/seminar, I believe that after 30-40 sessions, my direct and relentless assaults on your callous and oblivious being will begin to awaken something in you that may, with the promise of a second hand lottery ticket, result in the grand payoff of having a soul worthy of a voice.
Yours for $15/hour,
Rainer Maria Rilke