Friday, 29 April 2011

I Promise To Be Good

The Letters of Arthur Rimbaud, translated and with introduction by Wyatt Mason.

I love Rimbaud's letters - particularly those from Africa - as much, if not more than, Rimbaud's poetry itself. It has always seemed fascinating to me how Rimbaud was never quite able to sever all ties with his old life, that he kept alive that little sliver of his past, through his constant communicaton via mail with his mother and sister. The letters themselves are a multitude of ambiguities, at once tragic, hilarious, mundane, profound and inexplicable. How I love his tone! "I have not found here what I expected to find and shall soon be moving on" ... "In these accursed zones" ...

Of course, all of the letters are here, not just those from Africa, including the famous Letter of the Voyant. It's fascinating to follow the course of Rimbaud's life through his letters alone - from the early letters to Izambard filled with such youthful exuberance and zest for discovery and life, to the broken spirited, shell of a man in his last days in Marseille.

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