Book Club! Rimbaud: A Biography by Graham Robb
Posted By Jason – 19.09.2012
I’m single. I’ve been this way since about mid-August. It’s not the first time I’ve been a bachelor, but it is the first time I’ve been one in my 30s.
The last time I was unattached I was 20-something, and not a little persnickety about whom I hooked up with. For example, during the Great Northeast Blackout of 2003, an attractive female friend planted her lips on mine and grabbed my crotch. An aggressive tactic–and one that should’ve worked–but, because I was such a fussy little turd, I rejected her. What red-blooded male says ‘no’ to a grope in the dark? Asshole.
Anyway, I’m single again, and this time I’m not so fussy. In fact I seem to have no prerequisites for a bed partner outside of must have vagina. Actually, that’s not entirely true; you’ll need a face as well…and at least one nipple. I don’t know why my standards have plummeted; perhaps it’s my age. Perhaps on some primal level I’m so desperate to procreate before the reaper arrives– I’ll bang anyone. Then again, it probably has more to do with my recent, heart-blackening revelation that ‘true love’ doesn’t exist (boo-fucking-hoo), so it matters not whom I bed: I wont be spending my life with them.
I’ve become a slut, my friends, and in an effort to save myself from being labeled as such, I’ve decided to only pursue women dressed in cheetah print. What does this have to do with Graham Robb’s Rimbaud: A Biography? Nothing. I’m just putting out an APB to all the jungle bitches.
Rimbaud was a cheeky little fucker, wasn’t he? Always writing poetry and stabbing his friends; forever flinging his shit from the rooftops of Paris. I love him. And that’s why I read this biography.
I owe a great deal to Rimbaud. He invented being drunk and naughty–two activities I never tire of–and he wrote my favorite poem about an ulcer on a bum hole. He also encouraged me to leave the country and see the world. For those of you unfamiliar with Rimbaud or who don’t like to read because it feels funny, Jean Nicholas Arthur Rimbaud was the French poet who ripped the Romantics a new ass in the late eighteen hundreds. Rimbaud (pronounced a bit like Rambo) is credited with influencing and changing the course of modern literature, music, and art. He shook up the literary establishment and revolutionized the way we approach creativity. God, he was awesome. People like Picasso, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Van Morrison, Patti Smith, Kerouac, Nabokov, Grimace and the dude from Puddle of Mudd have all drawn inspiration from Rimbaud’s life and work. Jim Morrison was especially impressed with Rimbaud, and many believe he faked his death and split for Africa the same way his hero did. Rimbaud didn’t fake his death, but he did quit poetry and fuck off to Africa. Jim Morrison also lifted that ‘prolonged derangement of the senses’ thing from Rimbaud. In a letter to a friend the teenage genius (he produced his entire oeuvre before the age of 20) wrote, ‘the idea is to reach the unknown by the derangement of all the senses. It involves enormous suffering, but one must be strong and be a born poet. It's really not my fault.’ And it wasn’t his fault, the poor little bugger, he had to get fucked up on absinthe, never get a job, and behave like a pig. Liberation through destruction! J'ai une grenouille dans mon bidet!
Rimbaud was gay for another poet named Paul Verlaine. One time Verlaine, in a drunken rage, shot Rimbaud in the wrist. That’s where the derogatory expression ‘limp wristed’ comes from. Just made that up.
Anyway, this book is good. You should read it. And even if you’re not wearing cheetah print, you should get to our launch party tonight–we’re gonna rip the webbing.