Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


A Fable of a Fable, or “The Story of One of My Follies”: After he’d invented “the color of vowels,” regulated the “form and movement of each consonant,” the young poet then, applying his “instinctive rhythms” to the task, proudly proclaimed that he had alchemically created “a poetic language accessible, some day, to all the senses.” Notably, with his project in place, this poet, Arthur Rimbaud, tells us that he was then quick to “reserve translation rights.” This legal move on the poet’s part was perhaps thought initially necessary because, as he notes in 1873, the described synesthetic impact of language, one that would indeed be, if achieved, “accessible. . .to all the senses” (371), would only be accessible “some day” but not just yet, or at least not yet as translatable to others; this ambitious poetic invention, like an entrepreneur’s prototype, or a just-completed but not yet manufactured “machine made out of words,” would not yet work for all, could not yet be marketed to the masses. In other words, we would have to wait for this new and very modern, this “absolutely modern” invention, to function, for the colored vowels (before seen only in black and white), for the newly regulated consonants (before heard only in rigid formation), to achieve fully their promised potential of unlimited sensorial engagement, for the multiplicities of its enchantments to work their hallucinatory magic upon us...


Published in Five Points vol. 16 no.2 Spring 2015

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