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$15.95  $14.83
W. W. Norton & Company
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5.4 X 8.1 X 0.6 inches | 0.45 pounds
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About the Author

Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) was a visionary French poet from Charleville who dreamed of reinventing love and changing life with his poetry. At the age of sixteen, he traveled to Paris at the invitation of poet Paul Verlaine, ten years his senior, and exploded onto the literary scene with The Drunken Boat. In the ensuing years, Rimbaud further confirmed his place in literature with the spiritual autobiography A Season in Hell (the only work Rimbaud had printed himself) and forty-four scintillating prose texts that were later published as The Illuminations. As notorious for his life as he was for his poetry, Rimbaud had a productive but tumultuous relationship with Verlaine, who shot him in the wrist in Brussels. After abandoning literature at the age of twenty-one, Rimbaud enlisted in the Dutch colonial army in order to travel Java, deserting four months later and returning to France. In 1878, he traveled to Cyprus and worked as a foreman at a stone quarry. Two years later, he was living and working in Aden, Yemen, and then in Harar, Ethiopia, for an export agency. In 1885, he negotiated an arms deal with Menelik, the King of Shoa. A great walker all his life, Rimbaud developed a tumor in his right knee and soon returned to France in excruciating pain. His condition worsened, requiring doctors to amputate his right leg. Rimbaud died at the Hôpital de Conception in Marseille in 1891 at the age of thirty-seven; his body was returned to Charleville and buried in the Charleville-Mézières cemetery. Rimbaud's life and work have inspired countless writers, artists, and musicians, including the French Symbolists, the Beat generation, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, and Jim Morrison.

John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927. He wrote more than twenty books of poetry, including Quick Question; Planisphere; Notes from the Air; A Worldly Country; Where Shall I Wander; and Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, which received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award. The winner of many prizes and awards, both nationally and internationally, he received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation in 2011 and a National Humanities Medal, presented by President Obama at the White House, in 2012. Ashbery died in September 2017 at the age of ninety.


Rimbaud's epoch-making poems come through in all their bizarre originality, their brusque, unsettling freshness.--John Timpane
Meticulously faithful yet nimbly inventive...We are fortunate that John Ashbery has...brought to it such care and imaginative resourcefulness.--Lydia Davis
This is a landscape not only of the imagination, but of an imagination that is still affecting us profoundly.--Charles Rosen