Poetry News

Archambeau Gets Bohemian

By Harriet Staff

Over at Samizdat Blog, Robert Archambeau rips a little Bohemian Rhapsody. No, we're not talking about Freddy Mercury and Brian May—we're talking Jules Laforgue and Roberto Bolaño! Archambeau delivers this taste from the latest issue of the Notre Dame Review:

Bohemia, that mythical land of outsiders, rebels, malcontents, slumming rich kids, and rent-grubbing scam artists, spreads its porous boundaries wide in both space and time, extending from Montparnasse to Greenwich Village to North Beach, from Thomas DeQuincey’s opium den to Barney Rosset’s office at Grove Press in the sixties, to a grimy gallery in a neighborhood too newly annexed to the Bohemian empire for the likes of us to know about it. Bohemia is often seen as a kind of effortless Arcadia, a patchouli-and-pot-smoke saturated world of laughter and lotus eating. But in two recent translations of books by Jules Laforgue and Roberto Bolaño, both of whose bohemian credentials are beyond reproach, we see something else entirely. In Laforgue’s case we see a struggle to overcome some of the habitual attitudes of the bohemian poet; and in Bolaño’s, a long struggle to endure the kind of alienation that drives the bohemian away from mainstream society.

The full review of of Roberto Bolaño's Tres and Jules Laforgue's Last Verses can be found here.