Category Archives: Poetry

Rainer Maria Rilke on Writing

Valentine’s Day brings out the poet in the writer. Do you have a favorite? Mine is Rainer Maria Rilke, a master of imagery. He wrote exquisite poems, like this one:


The darkness hung like richness in the room
When like a dream the mother entered there
And then a glass’s tinkle stirred the air
Near where a boy sat in the silent gloom.
The room betrayed the mother—so she felt—
She kissed her boy and questioned “Are you here?”
And with a gesture that he held most dear
Down for a moment by his side she knelt.
Toward the piano they both shyly glanced
For she would sing to him on many a night,
And the child seated in the fading light
Would listen strangely as if half entranced,
His large eyes fastened with a quiet glow
Upon the hand which by her ring seemed bent
And slowly wandering o’er the white keys went
Moving as though against a drift of snow.

More advice from Rilke

More advice from Rilke

Rilke was not shy about giving advice to young poets. He believed that, “… even the best of us get the words wrong when we want them to express such intangible and almost unsayable things.” His letters to a young poet, Franz Kappus, reflect his views about being a writer.

There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple ‘I must’, then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.

Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient.

Did you notice that Rilke discouraged Kappus from looking outside of himself for validation? Instead, he encouraged him to look into his own heart.

Good advice, on this Valentine’s Day, from a great poet.



My memoir, An Issue of Blood–Facing Uterine Cancer with Faith, is now available as an ebook for just $2.99. You can also buy it in paperback through, or your favorite bookseller.


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Filed under Encouragement, Inspiration, Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing craft

Blackout Poems and Writers’ Retreats

This week, I’m blogging on two topics.

First topic: Blackout Poetry—poems created by blacking out with permanent marker, or by other means, words in a text leaving words to make a poem.


For a quick lesson on how to create blackout poetry click here. You can kick it up a notch and use colored markers. Add some art to make your poem really stand out.

Do you remember the post about my middle school writer friend, Lauren Koleszar? Well, last week, Lauren won a blackout poetry contest at her local public library. She was excited to let me know, and I’m so proud of her! This is her poem called “The Tower.”

The Tower

Congratulations, Lauren!

Second topic: Writers’ Retreats. I don’t know about you, but during these lazy summer days, I long to get away to a quiet, secluded, scenic place to write, preferably in the woods near a lake. For several reasons, I can’t retreat this year, so I’ve been satisfying my desire with photographs. Here are two of my virtual retreats.


Want to see more? Visit my Pinterest board, “Where Writers Might Write.”

Have you gone on a writers’ retreat? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Until next time . . .


*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.


Filed under Fun, Inspiration, Poetry, Uncategorized, words, Writing Spaces