Please view http://www.iial.org.uk for the highest quality new fiction coming out of London. Not directly connected to Rimbaud, but he would be most proud!
I’m currently reading a fantastic biography of Arthur Rimbaud by a man called Grahame Robb, and would thoroughly recommend it to anybody who has an interest in fin de siecle literature, The French Decadence, bizarre biographies etc. I’m absolutely hooked – I’ve always been a fan of Arthur Rimbaud, the whole idea of a precocious young poet writing all of his best work by the age of seventeen and sleeping his way around the backwaters of Charleville really appeals to me. I believe that his elopement, both sexual and literary, with the older, bearded symbolist Paul Verlaine produced some of the best poetry of the nineteenth century; the legacy of their violent, drug-fuelled sexual passion helped form an image of the decadence which persists to this day. I understand that the poem might not really work without being familiar with Rimbaud’s poetry and/or history, but this was written purely for my own enjoyment. I just love the way he finishes his poems with ‘…etc’ like he doesn’t give a shit. Because he doesn’t.
I wrote a poem a couple of weeks ago when I started reading this book, I’d quite like to do one when I finish it. I know the title is a weak pun, but I quite it nonetheless.
Rimbaud (First Blood)
I rode through humid years to Charleville
And awoke (sickened to the stomach from the richest of basics).
Bread, cheese, a litre of table wine.
I sobbed on a page with the cruelty of elders,
And sought a bearded man to love.
(I scratched, I tied, I fucked my way
Through three seasons,
Before returning to the country inn
With a bullet in my wrist.)
And so we sailed to warmer climes
To spread the leaden history guns.
I rode through humid years to be
A prophet now and then.
(A lens for the malady, the Western eye
Reflecting back a brighter sun etc.)