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Rimbaud at the Poetry Library | 26-Jun-11

'I have never and will never find difference between the pass from Pele to Carlos Alberto in the final of the World Cup in 1970, and the poetry of the young Rimbaud' -- Eric Cantona

From T. S. Eliot to Patti Smith via, um,  Eric Cantona, the influence of Nineteenth Century French enfant terrible Arthur Rimbaud on contemporary culture is vast. The poetry library holds no fewer than twenty one different translations of his work. Probably more if one considers the anthologised work and the work accessible on our subscription databases (free to library users on site). Most recent incumbent is John Ashbery's new translation of Rimbaud's Illuminations which Carcanet published this year and which was, incidentally, the 200,000th item to be catalogued at the library. As  Ashbery points out in the introduction: 'If we are absolutely modern - and we are - it's because Rimbaud commanded us to be.'

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