Arthur Rimbaud

   Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), was a French poet. He wrote his major poems during five tur­bulent years between the ages of 15 and 20. The poem that first won him recognition was "Le Bateau ivre" ("The Drunken Boat," 1871). Looking at a toy boat in a park pool, Rimbaud makes it sail in his imagination through luminous oceans and dazzling landscapes.
   Rimbaud's major collection of free verse and prose poems is Les Illuminations. It was published in 1886, long after the poet had abandoned literature to become a trader in Ethiopia. The work shows what the world might have looked like after the Deluge to a person not bound by preconceived habits and impressions. Une Saison en enfer (A Season in Hell, 1873), is an autobiographical account of the most tormented moment in Rimbaud's young life, when he lost faith in reality and madness hovered over him. Rimbaud freed himself of this torment, just as he freed himself of the emotional entanglement with poet Paul Verlaine, which had caused the anguish. Rimbaud and Verlaine were close friends and traveled together in 1873 and 1874.
   In a famous letter, Rimbaud stated his poetic prin­cipie: that the only real subject of poetry was the exploration of self through "a systematic derangement of all the senses"; the poet must search for a more dynamic use of language: "the alchemy of the word." Rimbaud was born in Charleville.