» Rimbaud: Poetic Annihilation
BY: Adrian Gargett
Conditioned to ecstasy, the poet is like a gorgeous unknown bird mired in the ashes of thought. If he succeeds in freeing himself, it is to make a sacrificial flight to the sun. His dreams of a regenerate world are but the reverberations of his own fevered pulse beats. He imagines the world will follow him, but in the blue he finds himself alone. Alone but surrounded by his creations; sustained, therefore to meet the supreme sacrifice (Henry Miller).

In a letter dated the 13th May 1871 Rimbaud writes to George Izambard from the maze of poetic delirium and the loss of self-possession. In a play upon the classic formula of Cartesian subjectivism, poetry is depicted as a shattering derangement of vision and a dislocation of the ego: "Now I degrade myself as far as possible. Why? I want to be a poet, and I am working to render myself visionary: you will not understand any of this, and I scarcely know how to explain it to you. It is necessary to arrive at the unknown by a deregulation of all the senses. The sufferings are enormous, but one must be strong, to be born a poet and I recognize myself as a poet. This is not at all my fault. It is false to say: I think. One should say: one thinks meI is an other" (R 5-7).


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