Paul Verlaine, (1844-96). „French poet. His earliest poems date from 1858, when he was 14, and were published five years later. His affair with the 16-year-old poet Rimbaud led to a separation from his wife and ended in 1873, when Verlaine was imprisoned for shooting Rimbaud in the arm. He returned to Catholicism while serving his two-year sentence but soon drifted back into drinking and violence on his release. His major works include the poetry collections Songs Without Words (1874) and Yesteryear and Yesterday (1884), which contains the poem ‘The Art of Poetry’. Verlaine spent his last years in poverty, continuing to frequent the Parisian cafés where he wrote much of his poetry. By the time of his death he was recognized as the leader of the symbolist movement in French literature.