Verlaine sung the praises of absinthe in his youth, and damned absinthe on his deathbed. He consorted with prostitutes and men while drinking, to the dismay of his young wife, and for a time the younger poet Rimbaud was his constant companion, both platonically and sexually.
The stormy relationship with Rimbaud eventually led to the imprisonment of Verlaine after he had shot Rimbaud twice, once in the wrist. His last years his spent living in slums degrading in poverty, drug addicition and heavy alcoholism.
Paul-Marie Verlaine (30 March 1844 – 8 January 1896)
Verlaine had many vices and drinking was one of the first. A habit he nurtured from early years. Absinthe was one of the preferred drinks of his choice for good and bad. Writing of drunkenness in his last big work, Confessions (1895), he says :
"This absinthe! What horror, when I think of those days... and of time not so remote... I repeat in all shame I shall have later to tell of many absurdities (and worse) due to the abuse of this horrible drink; this abuse itself, source of folly and of crime, of idiocies and of shame. The governments should suppress this absinthe and why not?"
Many writers "of old" wrote poems or passages about absinthe. Some drank it, some didn't. Find some of them here as well as reviews and notes on modern books about absinthe.
The Absinthe Poetry section has seen several updates the past days. Poems and information about more authors; Antonin Artaud, Arthur Symons, Francis Saltus Saltus, Florence Folsom and Robert Loveman. Open your mind and have a drink while you enjoy their lyrics.
It's the new bistro, the new bar in town. A good place to meet when meeting in real life isn't always an option. Meet me on facebook for more updates from the absinthe world.