Arthur Rimbaud, 1854-1891 Arthur Rimbaud was born October 20, 1854. He was the son of an army captain who deserted his family when Arthur was six years old. He attended a provincial school in Charleville, a town in northeastern France, and was a brilliant student until the Franco-Prussian war. It was then Rimbaud turned rebel and fled his home. As a boy, Rimbaud wrote some of the most remarkable poetry of the 19th century. His rhythmic experiments in his prose poems "Illuminations" (1886; eng.trans.,1932) identified him as one of the creators of free verse. Synesthesia, (the description of one sense experience in terms of another), was popularized by his "Sonnet of the Vowels" (1871;Eng. Trans., 1966) where each vowel is assigned a color. After Rimbaud fled his home in July 1870, a year of drifting followed. During this time, he had sent some poems to Paul Verlaine. In 1871, he was invited to Paris where Verlaine rejected him as a drunk. In spite of that, he and Verlaine became lovers and the relationship continued sporadically over two years and formed the core of disillusionment in "A Season in Hell." After the affair ended, Rimbaud abandoned his writing. At the time he was not yet 20 years old. Rimbaud transformed himself becoming a trader and gunrunner in Africa. On November 10, 1891, he died in Marseille following the amputation of his cancerous right leg.
Patti Smith was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 30, 1946. She is a singer-songwriter, writer and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary mergence of poetry and rock. Her album Horses has been hailed as one of the top 100 albums of all time. She has recorded twelve albums. In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She has written several books including Witt, Babel, Woolgathering, The Coral Sea, Auguries of Innocence, and Just Kids. Her drawings, photographs, and installations have been shown at numerous venues including the Andy Warhol Museum and the Fondation Cartier Pour l'Art Contemporain in Paris. In 2005, she was awarded the title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture, which is the highest honor awarded to an artist by the French Republic.