Jean Nicholas Arthur Rimbaud was born on this day (October 20, 1854) in the provincial town of Charleville (now part of Charleville-Mézières) in the Ardennes district of northeastern France.
Here‘s some of Allen’s notes from his visit to Charleville in the company of Dutch poet (and his Dutch translator), Simon Vinkenoog, back in December 1982
Here‘s, in a clip from the Steven Sebring’s 2008 documentary “Patti Smith – Dream Of Life”, Patti Smith visiting Charleville
Patti Smith’s photograph (taken in the museum at Charleville) of Rimbaud’s spoon and fork
Read Norimitsu Onishi’s piece, from last year in the New York Times, concerning the irony of the continual pull of Charleville-Mézières, “A Rebel French Poet Draws New Followers To The Hometown He Hated”
Current news – they’re threatening to dig him up (he’s buried in Charleville) and re-inter him in the national museum in Paris – “Pantheonisation” – Verlaine too
For more on that see here and here – and (en français) here and here
“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 nus aux poteaux de couleurs”
Allen at Naropa in 1975 lecturing on Rimbaud here and here
Allen (from back in 1945 (sic) in a letter to his Columbia professor, Lionel Trilling) –
A Defense of Rimbaud”
Bon anniversaire, Arthur Rimbaud!