Gay poets London residence to become museum

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

Two of France’s most admired poets are to be honoured with a museum in north London dedicated to poetry.

Arthur Rimbaud and his lover Paul Verlaine fled Paris for London in 1872 amid controversy about their love affair.

The 28-year-old Verlaine had abandoned his wife and child to elope with the 17-year-old Rimbaud.

The couple had a short-lived relationship and stayed in London for less than a year.

In a drunken argument in Brussels in July 1873 Verlaine shot his teenage lover through the wrist, a crime for which he was imprisoned.

A film about their relationship, Total Eclipse, was made in 1995. Leonardo DiCaprio played Rimbaud and David Thewlis played Verlaine.

One of the houses the couple stayed in during their time in London has been bought by a businessman who intends to restore it.

Poets in the City, a not-for-profit body that specialises in finding financial backers for poetic projects, told The Independent

that renovation has already started and it is hopeful of finding backers.

The house will become a museum dedicated to poetry, a scheme backed by prominent gay actors Stephen Fry and actor Simon Callow.

Mr Callow said it would be “a wonderful memento of the fruitful if nightmarish stay in England of these extraordinary men, of the work they did there, and indeed, of their affair.”