Poet. Born into a middle-class family, Verlaine's father was an army captain. As a young man he frequented the Parisian literary salons and cafés and was influenced by the works of Charles Baudelaire. In 1866 he published his "Poèmes saturniens". He developed an impressionistic style that used assonances, unusual rhyming patterns and shadowy images, and introduced the notion of "les poètes maudits" (the cursed poets). His "Art poétique," defined his particular sensibility and contains the famous line "De la musique avant toute chose" (Music above all else). In 1870 he married Mathilde Mauté and the following year became politically involved in the Paris Commune. While living with his wife's family in Paris, he met the gifted young poet Arthur Rimbaud, who seduced Verlaine away from his wife. The two men traveled in England and Belgium, during which time Verlaine wrote many of the poems in his collection "Romances sans paroles". The often tumultuous Rimbaud-Verlaine affair ended when, during a quarrel, Verlaine shot Rimbaud, wounding him in the wrist. Although Rimbaud withdrew charges, Verlaine spent two years in prison, more because of his homosexuality than the assault. While in prison he wrote several volumes of poetry, not all of them published, and became a devout Catholic. After his release he contributed to several literary journals and became revered by Symbolist poets as one of their forerunners. In the mid-1880s his reputation as a poet grew, yet his health and financial situation declined. In 1894 he was named "Prince des Poètes" and granted a pension. Sickly and often hospitalized, he died at the age of 52. The night after his funeral, a curious event took place: On the coping of the Paris Opera House, the arm of the statue representing poetry and holding a lyre fell off at the very place where Verlaine's hearse had passed. Verlaine was buried in the Batignolles Cemetery. A highway bridge was built over his original burial site, and his tomb became hidden and sooty. Appalled by this situation, a German scholar of French literature raised funds and in 1989 had Verlaine's tomb cleaned and moved to a more prominent place in the cemetery.
Bio by: Tigress