Arthur Rimbaud


Priez pour lui


Arthur Rimbaud is buried in Charleville-Mezieres Cimetière, Ardennes, France, Europe.

Grave of Rimbaud

At the age of six Rimbaud's father deserted the family and Rimbaud was brought up by his mother who he later resented for her conservative attitudes. He was also fiercely opposed to orthodox religion.

Rimbaud was a passionate and tortured individual who found his poetic voice early. By the age of 17 he had already written his accomplished poem Le Bateau ivre. In 1870, at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war, he ran away from home and lived for almost a year as a vagabond.

In 1871 he met fellow poet Paul Verlaine and they embarked on a tempestuous love affair. (He had previously sent poems to Verlaine.) During their time together they made two trips to London and it was here that Rimbaud began his famous prose poem A Season in Hell. However, Rimbaud and Verlaine quarrelled frequently and during a visit to Brussels Verlaine shot Rimbaud in the wrist. Verlaine subsequently went to prison for two years.

Arthur Rimbaud

Incredibly, by the age of 20, Rimbaud abandoned poetry and spent the rest of his life as a nomad in Europe and Africa. He worked as a trader, explorer and even as an arms dealer.

In 1891 he contracted cancer in his right leg and died following an amputation.

On his deathbed, Rimbaud agreed to talk to a couple of priests but it is not known for certain whether he actually reverted back to Catholicism.

Rimbaud's legacy was enormous. He was one of the main early exponents of vers libre and was a major symbolist poet. He was also an influence upon the surrealist poet André Breton and upon American songwriters Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan.

Comme je descendais des Fleuves impassibles,
Je ne me sentis plus guidé par les haleurs:
Des Peaux-Rouges criards les avaient pris pour cibles,
Les ayant cloués nux aux porteaux de coleurs.

From Le Bateau ivre (The Drunken Boat)






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