The Red Room Company\u00a0 are a non-profit organisation dedicated to bringing poetry to the masses, making it accessible in new and exciting ways. Their latest poetry project is 'Rhyming the Dead', commissioning ten living poets to respond to the works of ten dead poets.\r\n\r\nEpisode three sees contemporary poet and editor Bella Li delving into the works of French-born Arthur Rimbaud, whose brief body of work preempted Surrealism and influenced generations of new writers. Rimbaud died from bone cancer in 1891, at the age of thirty-seven.\r\n\r\nListen to episode three, 'Chalk is Falling'...\r\n\r\n\r\nBella Li on Arthur Rimbaud\r\nBella Li is a freelance editor and PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne. Her poems have been published most recently in\u00a0Best Australian Poems\u00a0(2012, 2013),\u00a0Contemporary Asian Australian Poets\u00a0(2013)\u00a0and\u00a0Land Before Lines\u00a0(2014).\r\n\r\nHer chapbook\u00a0Maps, Cargo\u00a0(Vagabond Press, 2013) was shortlisted for the 2014 Wesley Michel Wright Prize. She is a managing co-editor at Five Islands Press.\r\n\r\nRead Bella Li's reflection on Arthur Rimbaud on the Red Room Company website.\r\n1. How did you get involved with the Red Room Company and the Rhyming the Dead project?\r\nTamryn Bennett and Joanna Featherstone (Executive Director and Artistic Director, respectively) contacted me about being involved in Rhyming the Dead earlier in the year.\r\n\r\nRed Room has always taken an innovative and inclusive approach to poetics, and I was particularly interested in the question of influence\u2014the sounding of past voices within contemporary ones\u2014that seemed to lie at the heart of the project.\r\n2. What is it about Rimbaud that makes him important for writers and poetry readers to explore? Why should we read his work, and why is he still relevant today?\r\nRimbaud\u2019s work was and continues to be influential for a number of writers, artists and musicians: Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Picasso, Nabokov, Henry Miller, Brett Whiteley, to name a few. Many, many poets.\r\n\r\nHe is also often seen as a key figure of the Symbolist movement, which had an impact on the Modernists and beyond. An awareness of the history and lineage of ideas and artistic movements is by no means necessary for reading and writing, but it can enrich and inform your experience of both.\r\n\r\nSymbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud still resonates today. Image Credit: Brandon Burke via Flickr Creative Commons\r\n\r\nThe writing itself, both in terms of content and style, has a timeless quality; it does not date. And, on a praxis level, I find it is of the kind that generates more writing.\r\n\r\nTo me Rimbaud\u2019s poems are more analogous to paintings or pieces of music; they are often less about anything fixed or immediately discernible than they are a succession of strange and beautiful, often otherworldly, images or moods.\r\n3. What works would you recommend to a new reader who wants to start reading from Rimbaud?\r\nRimbaud only wrote for a brief period, and was by no means prolific, so only two collections of his work exist: A Season in Hell (which often includes his long, uncollected poem \u2018The Drunken Boat\u2019) and Illuminations.\r\n\r\nI\u2019d start with the latter, and would recommend the edition published by New Directions, translated by Louise Var\u00e8se, which includes the original French.\r\n4. Why are projects like Rhyming the Dead and organisations like the Red Room Company important for writers and readers to be involved in?\r\nIt\u2019s often said that writing can be an intensely solitary activity\u2014and this is perhaps part of the reason why certain people, with certain predispositions, are drawn to it in the first place.\r\nWhat an organisation like Red Room, and a project like 'Rhyming the Dead', do, is to bridge the gaps between these small, solitary cells; to illuminate those lines of continuity that exist between ourselves and the writers and readers of the past, as well as the writers and readers who surround us in the present."\r\nThe building of communities in any human endeavor, artistic or otherwise, is always necessary and important: nothing exists in a vacuum and without writing there is no reading, without reading there is no writing.\r\n***\r\nWriter's Edit would like to thank Bella Li and the Red Room Company for their insights and advice. More episodes of 'Rhyming the Dead' can be listened to on SoundCloud.