Absinthe to Abyssinia
Even the most accurate and faithful translators of Rimbaud (Louis Varese, Wallace Fowlie, and Oliver Bernard) have misunderstood the poetry, and consequently, have left less-than-accurate impressions of his work. Mark Spitzer asserts "No translation should ever be trusted, especially when the text is so complex that even the experts in the original language are stumped by multiple meanings, secret syntax and elusive argot. Such is the case with Rimbaud."
With From Absinthe to Abyssinia, Spitzer strives to retain the meaning of the original text, honoring the imagination of the poet. He offers a balance in what we know about Rimbaud, in relationship to what we pretend to know.
Mark Spitzer is the tanslator of The Collected Poems of Georges Bataille (Dufour Editions, 1998), and co-translator of The Church, by Louis-Ferdinand Celine (Green Integer, 2002). He has also translated Jean Genet, Blaise Cendrars, and other works by Celine and Bataille.
Review: "Great Leaps of Language! These are not simply translations of Rimbaud, they're resurrections of the poet's provocatively brilliant spirit, as it might, as it must, live among us now. Mark Spitzer makes us feel the poet afresh, through a gusty freshness of his own. Essential reading." -Jack Hirschman
"Mark Spitzer's translations from French...[are] superb, envincing both a superior ear and great deal of erudition." -Andrei Codrescu