The Blog

And It Was All Right

Lou Reed went down and found a song that will survive.

1:03 PM, Oct 28, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

After In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, his first book, Schwartz published a version of Arthur Rimbaud’s Season in Hell, which is said to be a lackluster translation (I think I recall that Schwartz knew no French), but the significance was in tying himself to a tradition, which also must have appealed to his student, Lewis Allen Reed, Syracuse ’64. Rimbaud wrote of the systematic derangement of the senses, an idea taken to heart by generations of young artists and writers who unfortunately lacked perspective to understand this was merely how a vain, excitable and brilliant teenager like Rimbaud talked about an aspect of the epic, the journey to the underworld, the descent, the katabasis.

To make that voyage is like a derangement of the senses, but to derange the senses in actuality is to condemn oneself permanently to the underworld, and the poet, the theorist of the systematic derangement of the senses, survives. Like Orpheus, Vergil, Dante, Rimbaud, he returns and with a song. Maybe that’s what happened. Lou Reed went down and found a song that will survive, as will he, who died yesterday.

Recent Blog Posts