Poetry and the Sensitive World: A Comparative Perspective on the Poetic Course of Arthur Rimbaud, William Blake andSohrab Sepehry

Negin Tahvildary


Drawing on the method of thematic critics, Gaston Bachelard and Jean-Pierre Richard, this article offers a comparative analysis of some of the major poems of Arthur Rimbaud, William Blake and the Iranian poet, Sohrab Sepehry. The discussion is divided into three parts: Literary Elements and Images; The Return to Myths and the Voyage into the Unknown; and Painting, Music and the Language of Silence. The study illustrates how, in spite of different cultural and religious backgrounds, one can trace striking similarities between the imaginary universes of the three poets, an affinity that might be termed an ‘alchemical fraternity’ in favour of poetry.

By means of a fusion of ego with poetic cosmogony and a setting aside of the traditional categories of logic and perception, each poet builds his imaginary universe. The work of all three also effects a synthesis of ego with language: they write as if they breathe. I will argue, therefore, that, in addition to painting, music and literature, the most sublime art for our poets is the creation of a new and original language, namely the language of silence. By expressive cuts, suggestive alliterations and contrasts between the terms of ordinary language, our poets create a pure poetry that fuses the realities of nature with the imaginary spectacle. It is here, like a conjunction point, that these three imaginary universes meet.

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New Readings — ISSN: 13597485

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Published by: Cardiff School of Modern Languages