National Poetry Library pays homage to one of the all-time geniuses of world literature, the revolutionary French poet Arthur Rimbaud.
Rimbaud spent 14 months of his meteorically brief literary career in London. In 1872-73 he lived with Paul Verlaine in Soho, Fitzrovia and Mornington Crescent. In 1874 he returned with poet Germaine Nouveau and lived on the South Bank in Stamford Street.
The event features a very special line-up of poets who have been seriously influenced by Rimbaud.
Poet and biographer Jeremy Reed will read from his two major adaptions The Black Book and The Illuminations.
Poets Paul Stubbs and Blandine Longre visit from Paris to read ‘Beyond the Poem’ – a metaphysical essay – and Rimbaud’s ‘Barbare’ respectively.
The poet and musician Penny Rimbaud is writing a piece for the occasion channelling Rimbaud “through the ears of John Coltrane and the eyes of Jackson Pollock”. He will be accompanied on saxophone by Louise Elliot.
Poet Sean Bonney – author of Happiness and advocate of Rimbaud as communard and petroleuse – visits from Berlin.
Irish poet-psychogeographer Niall McDevitt will debut his Pidgin English versions of key Rimbaud texts.
There will be a slideshow of Rimbaud’s London by photographer Max Reeves.
Join us on August 1 – the Celtic feast day of Lughnasa – for what promises to be an unforgettable tribute to the first modernist poet.
The corporate sectors are a mono-stylistic circus, arcades within arcades.
The boutiques are nondescript, but the snow on the flagstones is crushed.
Occasional nabobs, rare as pedestrians on a Sunday morning in London,
make their way towards diamond coaches… I think there is a police force
but the law is so different here I can’t imagine what their criminals are like.
– Cities 
Photo: Max Reeves