Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

I'll be grateful if you...

Nov 27, 2012

FEATURE: Letters To A Young Poet - Amazing Voice Of Solitude, RILKE

“When a truly great and unique spirit speaks, the lesser ones must be silent

Rainer Rilke's Classic Book
As I keep repeating, sometimes the book chooses you rather than you choosing the book. When the time is right, suddenly a book drops into your lap like a blessing and leaves an eternal. This book “The Letters To A Young Poet” is one such book that has left me immersed in my own solitude without the fear of being alone and changed the way I look at my own doubts.

The “Letters To A Young Poet” is a deceptively simple book. The letters were originally written to Franz Kappus, a 19-year-old officer cadet at the Vienna Military Academy, of which Rainer Maria Rilke was an alumnus. Discouraged by the prospect of life in the Austro-Hungarian Army, Kappus began to send his poetry to the 27-year-old Rilke, seeking both literary criticism and career advice. Their correspondence lasted from 1902 to 1908. In 1929, three years after Rilke's death, Kappus assembled and published the ten letters.

Franz in his introduction says, “Important alone are the ten letters – important for the understanding of the world in which Rainer Maria Rilke lived and worked, important also for the many who are growing and evolving now and shall in the future. When a truly great and unique spirit speaks, the lesser ones must be silent

Through his letters, Rilke guides the young boy, Franz, out of the labyrinths of doubts, answering his questions about life, love, loneliness, passion and sex as well about God. An amazing book which in my opinion needs to be read by every aspiring artist, young people and anyone is afraid to be alone in one’s own solitude.

Rainer Maria Rilke
René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926), better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, was a Bohemian-Austrian poet. He is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language. His haunting images focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety: themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets.

He wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose. Among English-language readers, his best-known work is the Duino Elegies; his two most famous prose works are the Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. He also wrote more than 400 poems in French, dedicated to his homeland of choice, the canton of Valais in Switzerland.


“All of us who labor in the arts know that it can be a lonely existence. We often find ourselves living a life of solitary dreams, disconnected from others, and driven by a vision that no one else seems to value or share. On some days, this can becomes overwhelming. We then thirst for a single voice of understanding that will reach into our solitary lives and reassure us that the path we have chosen is worthy, and that the rewards it offers are worth the loneliness it entails.” – By Kent Nerburn
For one human being to love another is perhaps the most difficult task of all, the epitome, the ultimate test. It is that striving for which all other striving is merely a preparation.

The Walk by Rainer Rilke
Put it (The need to write) to this test: does it stretch out its roots in the deepest place of your heart? Can you avow that you would die if you were forbidden to write? Above all, in the most silent hour of your night, ask yourself this: Must I write? Dig deep into yourself for a true answer. And if it should ring its assent, if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, “I must,” then build your life upon it.

Do not write love poems, at least at first; they present the greatest challenge. It requires great, fully ripened power to produce something personal, something unique, when there are so many good and sometimes even brilliant renditions in great numbers.

If your everyday life appears to be unworthy subject matter, do not complain to life. Complain to yourself. 

Lament that you are not poet enough to call up its wealth. For the creative artist there is no poverty – nothing is insignificant or unimportant.

A piece of art is good if it is born of necessity. This, its source, is its criterion; there is no other.

To feel that one could live without writing is enough indication that, in fact, one should not.

We are unutterably alone, essentially, especially in the things most intimate and most important to us.

Scale the depths of things; irony will never descend there.

Portrait of Rilke
by Paula Modersohn Becker
To be an artist means not to compute or count; it means to ripen as the tree, which does not force its sap, but stands unshaken in the storms of spring with no feat that summer might not follow.

Actually the creative experience lies so unbelievably close to the sexual, close to its pain and its pleasure, that both phenomena are only different forms of the same longing and bliss.

To cope with sexuality is difficult. Yes, but everything assigned to us is a challenge; nearly everything that matters is a challenge, and everything matters.

Spiritual creativity originates from the physical. They are of the same essence - only spiritual creativity is a gentler, more blissful, and more enduring repetition of physical desire and satisfaction.

Reflect on the world that you carry within yourself. And name this thinking what you wish… Your innermost happening is worth all your love.

For what would aloneness be, you ask yourself if it did not possess greatness? There exists only one aloneness, and it is great, and it is not easy to bear.

Your innermost happening is worth all you love. You must somehow work on that.

Why don’t you think of Him (God) as the coming one, who has been at hand since eternity, the future one, the final fruit of tree, with us as its leaves?

Don’t you see that everything that happens becomes a beginning again and again? Could it not be His beginning, since a beginning is in itself is always so beautiful?

…we must embrace struggle. Every living thing conforms to it. Everything in nature grows and struggles in its own way, establishing its own identity, insisting on it at all cost, against all resistance.

To love is also good, for love is difficult. For one human being to love another is perhaps the most difficult task of all, the epitome, the ultimate test. It is that string for which all other striving is merely preparation.

However the process of learning always involves time set aside for solitude. Thus to love constantly and far into a lifespan is indeed aloneness, heightened and deepened aloneness for one who loves.

Love does not at first have nothing to do with arousal, surrender, and uniting with another being – for what union can be built upon uncertainty, immaturity, and lack of coherence?

Young people often err, and that intensely so, in the way, since it is their nature to be impatient: The throw themselves at each other when love comes upon them. They fragment themselves, just as they are, in all of their disarray and confusion. But what is to follow? What should fate do if this takes root, this heap of half-broken things that they call togetherness and that they would like to call their happiness?

Don’t believe that this idea of a great love, which, when you were a boy, was imposed upon you, has been lost… I believe that this idea of love remains so strong and mighty in your memory because it was your first deep experience of aloneness and the first inner work that you have done on your life.

Perhaps all dragons in our lives are really princesses just waiting to see us just once being beautiful and courageous. Perhaps everything fearful is basically helplessness that seeks our help.

It’s often the name of the crime upon which a life shatters, not the nameless and personal act itself at all.

Allow life to happen to you. Believe me, life is right in all cases.

All feelings that integrate and inspire are pure. Impure is the feeling that touches only one side of your being and is tearing you up so.

Act with alertness (on your doubts) and responsibility, each and every time, and the day will come when doubt will change from a destroyer to become one of your best fellow-workers, perhaps the wisest of all that have a part in building your life.

Rose, oh pure contradiction, delight
of being no one's sleep under so
many lids.
-Epitaph on the grave of Rainer Rilke in Geneva, chosen by himself
Art also is only a way of life, and we can, no matter how we live, and without knowing it, prepare ourselves for it.

Hope you have liked this feature, please do leave your comment and thoughts below.

नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
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Understanding Haiku - A beginner's Guide

Nov 23, 2012

DESIGN STREET: First Chennai Urban Art Installation – commemorating the Child in You

During my travels, when ever I saw the creative of use of public space, like 'The Morning Line' below in Vienna, I used to wonder,why such activity does not happen in our own city. Yes there are installations… permanent political and religious Statues or in some small corner an Art Installation like the one at the corner of Harrington road, which sadly no one notices anymore.

'The Morning Line' installed at Vienna June 7th - Nov 20th, 2010  
So it was a pleasant surprise when I heard from Kishore of ArchitectureRed that they are going to do one installation called “Stack It Up” for CRY in commemoration of the “Child in You”. It is a temporary installation designed to be erected on a prominent public space, in order to create awareness among the public on the crucial issue of children’s right to education, which I could identify with.

Image courtesy: Tahaer Zoyab, Triple O Studio

I do believe that…
A)         Education for every child is a must if India has to reach the next level of growth, economically as well as cohesively within the diversity that we have.
B)         We need many more Urban Art installations in the Public places of Chennai City, as it will go a long way to promote a public appreciation of art as whole.

So do support it if you are in Chennai, on 23rd – 25th Nov, 2012, by visiting.... Marina Beach to look at it.


Installation Art: A brief note
Stack It Up
Almost ready for visitors - Marina Beach,2012
Installation art describes an artistic genre of three-dimensional works that are often site-specific and designed to transform the perception of a space. Installation artworks have been constructed in exhibition spaces such as museums and galleries, as well as public and private spaces. The genre incorporates a broad range of everyday and natural materials, which are often chosen for their "evocative" qualities, as well as new media such as video, sound, performance, immersive virtual reality and the internet

Installation art came to prominence in the 1970s but its roots can be identified in earlier artists such as Marcel Duchamp and his use of the readymade and Kurt Schwitters' Merz art objects, rather than more traditional craft based sculpture. The "intention" of the artist is paramount in much later installation art whose roots lie in the conceptual art of the 1960s. This again is a departure from traditional sculpture which places its focus on form. Early non-Western installation art includes events staged by the Gutai group in Japan starting in 1954, which influenced American installation pioneers like Allan Kaprow.

Text Curtsey : Wikipedia,click here to

Urban Art Installation
Now here are some interesting Urban Art installation across the globe...

Would we still be able to exist if we were authentically 'un-contained'?”,
 says Paige Bradley - Sculptor
The Cloud Gate aka The Bean by Indian Born Sculptor Anish Kapoor
at Chicago USA To know more about it click here 
IMG Curtsy

The B of Bang, Manchester UK 2005 
By Architect Thomas Heatherwick
From "Note on Good Design"

Another installation in Vienna
Released two days back on 21st Nov,2012, the new media Urban Art video by Anish Kapoor "Gangnam for Freedom" for in support of Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei....

Finally I leave you with a Time lapse Video clip of its making and the 'Stack It Up' team...  weathering strong wind and rain to complete the installation at Marina Beach for your viewing pleasure...

The ArchitectureRED Team

Here is an interesting article about the installation at Marina beach in Times Of India Today... "New attraction at Marina for next 3 days"  

नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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A Note On Good Design Part II

Nov 20, 2012

UP, CLOSE & PERSONAL : Felix Dennis – A live tapestry of Pills, Publishing & Poetry

A very interesting and, in my opinion, quite truthful verse about poets by Felix Dennis which caught my attention, few days back. I started to do a little research about the poet and it turned out to be quite an epic story in itself. As I got to know more about the Poet Felix Dennis, who is in fact a publishing Giant with flagship brand like THE WEEK, got me thinking more and more about how writing poetry affects people from different fields and class... but before that, here is the verse...

My name is Felix and I am a poet
I became a poet five years ago
Following an illness. Of course that's no
Excuse - the illness, I mean. I know

We know about the world poets inhabit -
The wreckage their behaviour brings to wives,
Husbands, children, etc. How the habit
Sours and decimates our loved-ones' lives

Eating up time we could be spending
Late at the office, earning a crust
To pay for our children's mobile phone bills.
Or watching TV with the family. We must

Be honest with ourselves. Think of the horrible
Embarrassment of a loved one forced to say:
"Well to be honest, he/she is a poet."
The appalled silence as the turn away.

We know all that. How we break promises
To take up stamp collecting. We know it,
Locked away in our own selfish world.
My name is Felix and I am a poet.'
Felix Dennis

Following a life threatening illness in 2001, Dennis took up poetry. Within a year, he wrote his first book of verse “A Glass Half Full”, published by Hutchinson in the UK. The launch of this book was accompanied by the first of Dennis's UK-wide poetry reading tours entitled “Did I Mention the Free Wine?” Audiences are offered fine French wine from Dennis’s cellar whilst watching Dennis perform his poetry on stage.

He says,” "When you're writing, you're in a totally different zone... I can start a difficult poem and look up at the clock and see to my astonishment that three hours have passed... Instead of taking crack cocaine, going out with ... and boozing, I'll sit down alone in a room and have just as much fun, if not more."

In his young days he was quite a controversial figure, with prosecution (due to Hippy OZ magazine publication), partying as well as interesting time like staying with John Lennon in his ‘Imagine’ days. On his crack coke addiction days, Felix now says,” It was complete madness - I'm very embarrassed about it. I had a wonderful time, I'm not going to lie, but I shouldn't have done it.”

On poetry, he attacks the "closed shop" of the poetry establishment that looks down on his work, and poets whose work is too obscure to have any popular appeal. "It's total snobbery. They can't make a living out of it - so they make a virtue out of writing incomprehensible gibberish."

Mr Dennis has another big project underway - to plant a huge forest in the Midlands.
"I've been busy for years, buying land, often under pseudonyms, and planting trees on it. All the money is going into it when I die - and in the end I'd like to think that it will be 20 to 30,000 acres."

Text and Image Curtsy: BBC News Post by Sean Coughlan

Now a little info about Felix Dennis ...

A Brief Note
Felix Dennis (born 1947) is a British publisher, poet, and philanthropist. His company, Dennis Publishing, pioneered computer and hobbyist magazine publishing in the United Kingdom. In more recent times, the company has added lifestyle titles such as its flagship brand The Week, which is published in the UK, the United States and Australia.
Maxim Cover Curtsey Wikipedia
Dennis started his career as a street seller for the underground counter culture magazine Oz in 1971. Dennis went on to found his own magazine publishing company in 1973. Dennis was quickly promoted to co-editor and became involved in the longest conspiracy trial in English history over the "School Kids" edition. Following acquittal by the Court of Appeal, Dennis went on to found his own magazine publishing company in 1973. In 1987, he co-founded Micro Ware house, with Peter Godfrey and Bob Bartner, a company that pioneered direct IT marketing via high quality catalogues. By 1992 the firm had 3500 employees in 13 countries with worldwide sales in 2000 of $2.5 billion. In 1995, Dennis Publishing created Maxim, a title that became the world's biggest selling men's lifestyle magazine and global brand. In 2006, Dennis wrote a best-seller on how he became a multi-millionaire in How to Get Rich, published by Ebury Press.

Some More Interesting Facts:
Dennis is credited with having been the first person to say the word C*** on live British television, on the 7 November, 1970 edition of David Frost's The Frost Programme. As a result, most "live" transmissions are delayed by 15 seconds.

Dennis is planting the Forest of Dennis, based in Warwickshire in the UK's West Midlands. Over the last ten years, Dennis has established a young forest of native deciduous trees, covering one thousand acres with approximately 600,000 saplings planted to date.

Dennis backed Julian Assange by pledging bail in December 2010; the money was lost in June 2012 when a judge ordered it to be forfeited, as Assange had sought to escape the jurisdiction of the English courts by entering the London embassy of Ecuador.

TEXT Curtsey: Wikipedia
नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
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