Skip to main content

Arthur Rimbaud Drift

AN ARTHUR RIMBAUD DRIFT is a poetic walk following the London trail of Arthur Rimbaud and his fellow poet Paul Verlaine, who first visited the English capital - which they called Leun Deun - in September 1872.

The route goes from Charing Cross Station, where the poets arrived, through French Soho, where they first lived, and ends up at the legendary 8 Royal College Street where they had a proto-surrealist bust-up over a fish.

Poet Niall McDevitt has gleaned the great biographies of Rimbaud by Enid Starkie, Jean-Luc Steinmetz, Charles Nicholls and Graham Robb, as well as Joanna Richardsons' excellent biography of Verlaine, and has mapped out many of the most significant Rimbaud/Verlaine sites.

It is worth remembering that of Rimbaud's meteorically brief literary career, 14 months were spent in London, that he wrote some of A Season in Hell in London, most of Illuminations, and that the latter is one of the city's outstanding literary landmarks, a modernist classic 50 years before modernism.

The walk traces the poets' doomed quest to 're-invent love' as well as Rimbaud's later sojourn with the poet Germain Nouveau, his falling ill, and his being rescued by his mother, the terrifying 'Shadow Mouth'. We also find out about Verlaine's truimphant return to London in the 1890s where he was feted as the prince of the Decadents.

For a preview of the tour, tune into the Robert Elms Show BBC LONDON on February 18 at 1.40.

Sun 22 February meeting at 2pm by the Eleanor Cross in the forecourt of Charing Cross station. £5/£3(unwaged) (Please note: this walk will take a few hours and cover a few miles on its course to the Rimbaud/Verlaine House in Royal College Street. Please bring ideal overcoats, ideal footwear, ideal sandwiches, ideal beverages etc. Treat it as pilgimage.)

The Stolen Heart

My sad heart slobbers at the poop
Yellowy with tobacco stains.
Now they're squirting their jets of soup!
My sad heart slobbers at the poop
As the ball-breaking of the troops
Has them guffawing on the main.
My sad heart slobbers at the poop
Yellowy with tobacco stains.

Ithyphallic and belligerent,
Their ball-breaking has depraved it.
The rudder's daubed in smutty paint,
Ithyphallic and belligerent.
Abracadabraesque waves are sent
To cleanse my heart and save it;
Ithyphallic and belligerent,
Their ball-breaking has depraved it.

When they have spat out their plugs,
Oh stolen heart, what can we do
To please these Rabelaisian slugs
When they have spat out their plugs?
My stomach will dredge up the glugs
Into the bilge-wells of this stew...
When they have spat out their plugs,
Oh stolen heart, what can we do?

poem by Arthur Rimbaud; version by Niall McDevitt

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!