Today, we celebrate poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who was born on December 4, 1875, in Prague. Regarded as a master of verse, Rilke was the author of numerous collections of poetry and prose, most famously the Duino Elegies (1923) and the Sonnets to Orpheus (1923). Perhaps Rilke's most famed poem is "Archaic Torso of Apollo."

In honor of Rilke's birthday, read Letters to a Young Poet [The First Letter], in which Rilke replies to letters from a young military cadet and aspiring poet asking for his advice. You can also learn how his letters drew from the epistolary form and listen to poet Lisa Sewell reading Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet, 1987.