Jul 24 2015

Discovering a New Poetical World

Published by at 10:41 am under Creativity

From Rainer Maria Rilke: A Study in Poetry and Mysticism (1931), by Federico Olivero.

Poetry is an aspiration towards the unknown; the poet goes beyond the limits of logical thought and enters into a region of continual changes and boundless imagination. This conception of Rilke is suitable for his mature work, from the Buch der Bilder onwards. His poetry arises from his mystical idea of life and death and from the artist’s inborn tendency towards oversensitiveness so as to make an abstract and metaphysical nature out of material nature, and universal and abstract sentiments out of his enthusiasms and griefs. While the poet tries to grasp the intimate signification and meaning of life and of the world, material reality dissolves when in contact with his fervid imagination; and therefore his poetry is this same dissociation of matter in another substance, and with the extension of sensation, an expansion of his internal life. The artistic power of nature — by aesthetically moulding according to divine laws — gives rise to a reality of elating beauty; but the poet feels that under this reality, there is another which he discovers and fathoms, — a beauty in perfect order and harmonizing with the rhythm of his spirit, instead of that external beauty which is apparently indistinct and intricate. This sense of a second reality appears only in the poet’s hours of dreams and is only revealed to solitary minds. The material world dissolves under the poet’s glance and is observed not from the outside but from the inside. Therefore his poetry is not a copy or picture of external things but a study and image of the intimate part of life and nature, — of that which is beyond appearances and which lies deeply hidden under the surface. The poet tries to penetrate to the lowest depth of every being full of life and beauty up to their external margins; and this depth which he discovers becomes a new form of his vision. The poet is at once a creator and expounder; the former because he gives us new forms and sentiments, and the latter since he explains life and nature according to his ideas. The new poetical world comes to him from his inmost being; sunsets, dawns, the gold quivering of a birch-tree in the autumn, evening and twilight are images of his sentiments, and all things are coloured by his passion, and the universe is reflected in him, but transformed by his soul.

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