Selected Poems from Paul Verlaine

Verlaine, Paul (1844–1896), translated by Kline, A. S. (contact-email)

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This wide selection of over seventy of Verlaine’s poems has been chosen from his major collections of verse. Verlaine has been considered as a member of both the Symbolist and Decadent movements, and though he exhibits elements of both, his poetry is in truth unclassifiable. His content is always suggestive and lyrical rather than rhetorical or didactic, and the form is musical and often innovative. Much of the delicate and inimitable charm of Verlaine’s art depends on setting, mood, nuance and veiled allusiveness. The nature of his poetry is to create an often wistful and nostalgic, arena of light and shade, where the dreaming mind can invoke memory, the past, illusion and delusion, beauty and muted emotion. Nevertheless, Verlaine’s art is anything but febrile or simplistic. A fierce intelligence is at work behind the quiet and theatrical façade, and no poet has ever come closer to achieving the tender dreamlike state he succeeds in conveying. His melodious verse has often been set to music, notably by Debussy and Fauré.

Author Details

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Kline, A. S.

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