John Ashbery's long-awaited, virtuosic translation of Arthur Rimbaud's Illuminations is presented with the French text in parallel and a preface by its new translator. Given Rimbaud's own cavalier attitude toward his most substantial work, few would have thought the "bunch of unpaginated and untitled pages" that Rimbaud handed his former lover Paul Verlaine (who had attemp...more
The truth is in this book, well, kind of. Rimbaud will always be this cloud that floats above us. It is there to be captured an...more
Today I checked out Ashbery's new translation of Illuminations from the library and read it in one sitting in my kitchen. I'm glad I did it. It's a beautiful book. I don't know much French, but I will fight anyone who says this is not a good translation.
Really, we should all be singing these poems to each other. We should've fought for the last copies in bookstores and read them all the first night they were published. If we care about poetry an...more
In "Historic Evening" R/A bemoans the Romantic hangover: "...it's no longer possible to submit...more
The imagery is vivid, idiosyncratic hermetic and strangely beautiful, and anticipates surealism.
Ashbery has, as far as I can tell, done an excellent job in translation. The original and translation appear on opposite sides. I don't speak French in any meaningful sense, but there is a an exquisite sound sense in his language that I can pick up in a vague sense in reading (and doubtless mispronouncing) pass...more
The themes are prescient of the 20th century's dadaism...more
Rimbaud has quickly become a favourite. I’ve re-read this book thrice over the last month, finding new things to delight me each time around.
I’m in love with his words. But I’m also fascinated by him. All of his works were written in his mid to late teens. He gave up writing altogether by the age of 21. One of the French enfant terrible, he caused quite the ruckus during his lifetime (which was, in...more
Fairies, flowers and flea markets take turns standing in as subjects while the poet posits preposterous notions. War, women and woe are seen through a theatrical...more
I like to read these out loud to my cats; sometimes in English but usually in the French. That's why I love dual language editions like these so much. It's a fantasy of mine to find a woman...more
Escrita numa fase muito jovem, a única fase, diga-se, revela um ser desfazado do mundo, vivendo numa utopia que se compreende quando se sabe o fim que levou.
Inspiração para outros poetas, Rimbaud foi um génio e um dos poucos poetas que me dá prazer ler e reler.
Ashberry avoids the common mistake of many English translators of 19th century French poetry: the arbitrary introduction of an ornate, exaggeratedly poetic style and overly complex vocabulary that Fre...more
Rimbaud's poems are not easily accessible. He gives away very little, but he does give away something. Your first glance is like skimming the surface of a tidal pool. You are dazzled by the reflections and the play of light. When you lean a little further, when you put a little...more
Admittedly, I am no poetry expert. However, on a basi...more
Well, the poems are good, even though I can tell how liberally this was translated even with my nonexistent French. Illuminations is both broader thematically and deeper in analysis than A Season in Hell, yet...more