Synaesthetic Poetry

Synaesthesia is a catchy area of research. A few years ago, when I was doing research in the area I was quite dissatisfied with the translations of some frequently cited poems by Baudelaire and Rimbaud. So, being the Francophile that I am, I endeavoured to translate them myself. Of course the feel of the poems is just not the same, but I hope that they will bring readers closer to a better understanding of some of the early meandrings of synaesthetic poetry:

translations of corresondances_by_baudelaire & voyelles_by_rimbaud

I actually thought about posting these translations after reading a chapter from Michael Taussig’s, “Walter Benjamin’s Grave”. Taussig speaks of Baudelaire’s poem, “Correspondances” and Walter Benjamin’s  conclusion “that the correspondances are scored in that poet’s work as an attempt to preserve experience in a crisis-proof form but that nevertheless the poetry is formed by a ready acceptance of failure, in the face of the shock-force of modernity, to maintain this crisis-proofing” (Taussig 2006:59). 

In all honesty, I didn’t really understand what Taussig was on about, but perhaps that reflects the fact that the ideas flew right over my head. I have become accustomed to the whooshing sound these ideas make as they pass by…


                             I believe I have developed a case of Cross-modal Stress-related Synaesthetic Percepts!

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Paul Mason

I am a biomedically trained social anthropologist interested in biological and cultural diversity.

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