Don's Reviews > Illuminations

Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud
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Jun 28, 11

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Read in June, 2011

I can't stop reading books alongside Infinite Jest.

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 and literature, this is it. This is as good as it gets (no, better). This is the divine-impossible-can't-be-real shit.

Rimbaud's biography has to be fiction. Like Wittgenstein, it is too perfect to be true. He is a character in a Pynchon novel, not a real person. Right? He is Icarus, not a real person. Right?

"To roll with one's wounds, through the wearying air and the sea; with physical torment, through the silence of murderous water and air; with tortures that laugh, in their heinously stormy silence."

It is difficult to quote this book because if I kept going I would just quote the entire thing.

(The design of the book is also gorgeous. Sometimes the big publishers don't fuck things up.)
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Betsy I laughed when I read your first line because I'm the same way. I'm really enjoying Infinite Jest, but I can't digest it all at one time. Rimbaud is also one of my break away books. :)


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