Dear Sir,

You asked for my criticism of your verses, so let me state right off the bat: don’t bust a move, at least until you’re prepared for love’s deeper possibilities—solitude is the most essential quality for the development of an artist. Also, one should not dance at high-class luncheons, even if music comes on. That music is for atmosphere. That said, I found your poem compelling. I read it over and over. I devoured it. I stone-cold munched it.

I have no advice regarding your poem: artists should look inside, not outside, for approval; still, you probably shouldn’t rhyme “party” and “body.” Speaking of parties with scantily clad girls showing body, I’m intrigued. The events I attend are all shirtwaists and mild décolletage at best. I should like to attend.

I concur that you’re looking for love in all the wrong places, but the problem isn’t a lack of fine girls and a surplus of ugly faces, though that could also be true, of course. The right place to look is your childhood, nature, solitude. Your first inclination to become a monk and leave the situation is sound. The image of hanging oneself with a celibate rope is poignant, and almost certainly the best option for now. You should be on a mission to embrace your lonely condition.

I trust the “uh, huh, yeah, huh, uh, huh, yeah, huh, just bust a move, huh-uh, hey, huh-uh, yeah, uh, huh, yeah, huh, huh” stanza is a typo.

As a married man lo these many years, I can’t say whether women these days are faking and goodness-saking, and want a man who brings home the bacon, though I will take your word for it. Still, I remind you that you have chosen the life of a poet! You will have no money, you will have no car, you will have no woman, and there you are. On the plus side, your soul will expand to fill the vastness of your solitude.

A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity, but the necessity herein seems to be helping poindexters “sex.” Perhaps there are richer themes. I’m intrigued, for example, by your best friend Harry who has a brother Larry who in five days from now is going to marry. Why are you the best man, and not Harry? Does Larry not have his own best friend that he must borrow his brother’s? Why is there still doubt about your attending the wedding five days out? This dynamic is rich, a worthier subject for exploration than bridesmaids, however stacked they may be. (I mean, how stacked are we talking? Write and let me know.)

Your verse, while appealing, is dripping with youthful macho boastfulness. I can relate: my first collection was Elegy to Boobs, a desperate attempt to convince my schoolmates that the sensitive boy with the middle name “Maria” was actually a regular Casanova. It didn’t work. I would recommend that you check your libido.

And a word of caution: you must be careful not to be defined by these verses. You don’t want to be a one-poem wonder. I, for example, fully expect to be remembered for my carefully crafted elegies and sonnets, and not my correspondence with teenagers.

I am moved by the great confidence you place in me, and urge you to persevere. The life of a poet is challenging, but if you want it, you got it.

Rainer Maria Rilke

P.S. This goes without saying, but please don’t publish these letters. The last thing I need is a bunch of randos reading my mail.