There were rocks stars before rock music. Arthur Rimbaud, teen French poet, alleged homosexual, later-life gun runner, and genius–was one. He threw hands before slam poetry existed and “music” meant something beyond “classical.”
Real, actual poetry like this is powerful beyond measure: it’s not bare-chested guy in the park with the acoustic guitar strumming major chords irritating/ murder worthy, it’s fire in a human being– the pure essence of human struggle for spiritual/ religious elevation invoked as language. It’s everything poems should be and none of the weakened, diluted aspects it shouldn’t.
Don’t ever think poetry isn’t dangerous. It’s the crack cocaine to simple conversation’s opium.
I could go on about how Arthur Rimbaud stopped writing when he was nineteen years old, how he endorsed the “systematic derangement of the senses,” how Victor Fucking Hugo called him “an infant Shakespeare,” or how he died of cancer (after working extensively in Yemen) at the age of 37.
But I won’t. I’ll only beseech you to read or hear Rimbaud, however you see fit.
Wyatt Mason recently translated Rimbaud’s collected works into Rimbaud Complete (or at least Modern Library Classics did, but you feel me). Whether you read A Season in Hell, or the Illuminations, or the myriad of other pieces, Arthur Rimbaud is beyond worth reading: he’s necessary.
Goddamn man, what do I have to do? GO.