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Roberta Flack On The Calming Power Of Rainer Maria Rilke

Roberta Flack
Courtesy of the artist
Roberta Flack

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Roberta Flack

Where: New York, N.Y.

Recommendation: Reading Ranier Maria Rilke


For me in this time — no different than anytime — music is everything. I'm listening to music, really listening, deeply and openly. Music helps me to experience and express myself. It keeps me going and inspires me.

I'm also trying to make music — practicing the piano and singing here and there. I continue to create in the moment with myself as my only audience member. I can close my eyes and feel free, if only for a moment. I can be anywhere in the world in my imagination.

I'm also reading a lot. Newspapers are stressful. Rainer Maria Rilke is what I'm reading right now. Here are a few lines I appreciate, from his poem "Go To the Limits of Your Longing":

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.

Just keep going. No feeling is final.


The deluxe reissue of Roberta Flack's album First Take will be released in June.

  • Read more from the Our Daily Breather series.
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Roberta Flack