The Favorite Poet

spacePoems traditionally gather texts that Rimbaud wrote from January 1870 to mid-September 1871. In October 1870, he copied out his first fifteen poems and gave them to the young poet Paul Demeny (The collection known as of Douai). He then attached to them seven other poems which he had written when he was in Belgium, that is to say a whole of 22 poems.

spaceIn those texts, Rimbaud respects the rhyme, he uses the alexandrine and he favours the sonnet. They contain reminiscences of his readings and some are true pastiches of other poets like Alfred de Musset or Victor Hugo.

spaceAfter he had run away several times and was back to Charleville, the style of his poems changed. It was the beginning of a period of rejection of Family, social order, Religion. It was also the beginning of his experience of the poet as a "seer". He exposed his theory in a letter that he wrote to Paul Demeny on 15th May, 1871. One month later, he sent him another letter and asked him to burn, "like the last will of a dead", all the verse that he was enough stupid to give him during his stay in Douai, because he was judging them outmoded.

spaceIn August 1871, Arthur sent a lot of his new poems to Paul Verlaine (The Stolen Heart, Those Who Sit, My Little Lovelies, Paris is Repeopled...), then he wrote The Drunken Boat before to leave and to met Verlaine in Paris.

spaceThe change of style and his psychological evolution can be found in every new poem he writes: he passes from the imitation of Parnassians and Romantic Poets to a "New Literature", by a loss of values and references. He finds a language which "will be from the soul for the soul, summing up everything, perfumes and sounds and colours".

- Notice by Catherine.
- Poems translated by Oliver Bernard and taken from: Arthur Rimbaud, Collected Poems, Penguin Classics (1962).

Index of poems