John Kinsella translates Rimbaud's poem "Larme" [tear] in the recent issue of Poetry magazine.

The poem employs a number of "conceits" to (simultaneously) narrate & conceal the story that young Arthur spent a lot of time in the woods, and that while he was there, he got drunk on sunlight.

The poem sort of jars with the book I'm reading about Victorian & Modern Poetics, which begins with a history of the dramatic monologue, the persona, as a technique shared for varied reasons by poets from Browning & Tennyson through Swinburne & Wilde.

Rimbaud as far as I know never projected a persona. He was a sort of french Whitman, apparently - naturally endowed with literary savoir-faire.

Poets of the 19th & 20th centuries (& 21st, I guess) assume various counter-cultural and bohemian poses - which are, paradoxically, very limiting. (C. Christ discusses this.) The mask, the dramatic monologue, the persona - for these poets - counterbalances the (bohemian) pose.

This is complicated, I know.

Hart Crane tried to juggle all these elements - but he seems pretty close to Rimbaud in a number of ways. They were both extremely tough, in an odd way.

Rimbaud rejected both the sophisticated, hypocritical, "dramatic" literary world of the poseur, & the Rousseau-ish romance of a narrated childhood. For Rimbaud, childhood was too real, too profound, too immense for sophistry.

I guess something similar could be said for Proust. (Proust prevailed against all the febrile worries about "personality" & "subjectivity" & "narcissism" etc. which beset the 19th century. He only talked about himself.)

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