RIMBAUD’S TRAVELS 1870-1891 ( in Google Maps )
While re-reading E.Starkie’s biography of Arthur Rimbaud in 2008, I began mapping the child poet’s first forays into the French countryside in Google Maps. The practice added a visual / spatial element that deepened the reading & sent me off on a hundred internet explorations of how pieces of Europe have changed in the intervening years. When I reached the point where Rimbaud abruptly abandoned poetry as a young man, I set the book aside & abandoned the map.
It wasn’t until recently, upon noticing my raggedy shoes during a hike through Point Reyes, that I remembered the unfinished map of his unfinished life & decided to complete the project.
When he stopped writing, Rimbaud started wandering w/an unmatched fury. The last half of his life was as unlikely as the first - crossing the Alps on foot in a snowstorm, for instance, or deserting the Dutch Colonial Army in Java - & that much more suitable to mapping. I hope this is useful to someone.
[ more on Rimbaud previously ]