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Poetry Guide: Poète maudit

A poète maudit (French: accursed poet) is a poet living a life outside or against society. Abuse of drugs and alcohol, insanity, crime, violence, and in general any societal sin, often resulting in an early death are typical elements of the biography of a poète maudit.

The first poète maudit, and its prototype, was François Villon (1431-c. 1474) but the phrase wasn't coined until the end of the 19th century, with Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud considered typical examples.