Pale Wire (Popscene)

Sunday, May 16, 2004

French Symbolist Poetry?! LET ME AT IT!

I picked up the latest in a long line of Arthur Rimbaud collections when I was at City Lights Bookstore in San Fran earlier this month. More than anything, it makes me wish I could read French because it seems like you lose most of the music in translation. Still, it's great to finally get a look at this guy's stuff. Even though you're certainly not feeling the full effect, you still get a pretty good idea what he's all about.

Here are a couple quotes:

--From Deliria, a poem included in his supa-dupa dark, self-published collection A Season in Hell.

The confessions of a hellmate:
"Love must be reinvented, that much is clear. Women want security. And once they get it, goodness and beauty are out the window: cold disdain is the meat of marriage. Or I'll see women who seem happy, who even I could befriend, and I see them devoured by brutes as sensitive as a butcher..."

--And from Youth, a poem included in Illuminations, a later collection whose symbolist style had a huge influence in the 20th Century (Bob Dylan cited it as the inspiration for the image pastiche style he used on Bringing It All Back Home):

What will become of the world when you leave?
No matter what happens, no trace of now will remain.