As a wild, drug-taking teen in the 1870s, Rimbaud helped engender modern poetry. This dizzying, brilliant, blasphemous last book of mostly prose poems explores his angers, gratitudes and regrets about the visions and erotic transports celebrated in earlier poems. Revell (Pennyweight Windows) is just the right kind of poet to bring something new to this familiar work; his own recent verse reflects religious visions, and he has translated Rimbaud's successor, Apollinaire. Rimbaud's verve, fascination with the forbidden, and the self-loathing that led him to give up poetry altogether come across with a confident swagger in Revell's wiry syntax. "I dance... hand-in-hand with hags and children," Rimbaud says. Sometimes Revell modernizes ("Copyright remains with me"); elsewhere he courts controversy (for the much-quoted "Il faut etre absolument moderne," Revell gives "I must"—not "One must"—"be absolutely modern"). Yet Revell's method fits Rimbaud's near-madness: the translation shows, and Revell's afterword explains, how this hallucinatory modernism jump-starts an Anglo-American tradition that leads from Blake to the present day. This is an inspired new version of a strange, harsh classic. (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
A Season in Hellby Arthur Rimbaud
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A Season in Hell is an extended poem written and published in 1873 by French writer Arthur Rimbaud. The book had a considerable influence on later artists and poets, for example the Surrealists. Henry Miller was important in introducing Rimbaud to America in the sixties. He once attempted an English translation of the book and wrote an extended essay on Rimbaud and A Season in Hell titled The Time of the Assassins. The poem is loosely divided into nine parts, some of which are much shorter than others. They differ markedly in tone and narrative comprehensibility, with some, such as "Bad Blood," 'being much more obviously influenced by Rimbaud's drug use than others, some argue. Academic critics have arrived at many varied and often entirely incompatible conclusions as to what meaning and philosophy may or may not be contained in the text, and will continue to do so.
Winner of The Pen USA Translation Award for 2008
"Revell's method fits Rimbaud's near-madness. . . . This is an inspired new version of a strange, harsh classic." Publishers Weekly
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Meet the Author
A volatile and peripatetic poet, the prodigy ARTHUR RIMBAUD wrote all of his poetry in a space of less than five years. His poem "Voyelles" invoked synesthesia, marking him as a founder of French symbolism, and his Une Saison en Enfer (A Season in Hell) is considered one of the first works of free verse. His poetry was subconsciously inspired and highly suggestive; his persona was caustic and unstable. Though brilliant, during his life his peers regarded him as perverse, unsophisticated, and youthfully arrogant, and he died virtually indifferent to his own work.
DONALD REVELL is Professor of English & Director of Creative Writing programs at UNLV. Thief of Strings is his tenth poetry collection, published by Alice James. Donald Revell's previous translations include The Illumninations by Arthur Rimbaud, and A Season in Hell by Arthur Rimbaud, both of which were published by Omnidawn. A Season in Hell won the PSA translation award. His books of essays include Invisible Green: Selected Prose, published by Omnidawn. He serves as poetry editor of Colorado Review. Revell lives in the desert south of Las Vegas with his wife, poet Claudia Keelan, and their children Benjamin Brecht and Lucie Ming.
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For anyone who isn't a bitter bigot, Rimbaud is an excellent poet with a beautiful grasp of languange and the ability to make his readers feel his emotions as if they were their own.