Arthur Rimbaud - Illuminations
The prose poems of the great French Symbolist, Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), have acquired enormous prestige among readers everywhere and have been a revolutionary influence on poetry in the twentieth century. They are offered here both in their original texts and in superb English translations by Louise Varèse.
Rimbaud was the most astonishing of French geniuses. Fired in childhood with an ambition to write, he gave up poetry before he was twenty-one. Yet he had already produced some of the finest example of French verse. He is best known for A Season in Hell, but his other prose poems are no less remarkable.
While he was working on them he spoke of his interest in hallucinations- "des vertiges, des silences, des nuts." These perceptions were caught by the poet in a beam of pellucid, and strangely active language that still lights up- now here, now there- unexplored aspects of experience and thought.