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Few readers need any introduction to the work of the most influential poet of the twentieth century. In addition to the title poem, this selecion includes "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", "Gerontion", "Ash Wednesday", and other poems from Mr. Eliot's early and middle work. "In ten years' time," wrote Edmund Wilson in Axel0s Castle (1931), "Eliot has left upon English Few readers need any introduction to the work of the most influential poet of the twentieth century. In addition to the title poem, this selecion includes "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", "Gerontion", "Ash Wednesday", and other poems from Mr. Eliot's early and middle work. "In ten years' time," wrote Edmund Wilson in Axel0s Castle (1931), "Eliot has left upon English poetry a mark more unmistakable than that of any other poet writing in English." In 1948 Mr. Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize "for his work as trail-blazing pioneer of modern poetry".


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Few readers need any introduction to the work of the most influential poet of the twentieth century. In addition to the title poem, this selecion includes "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", "Gerontion", "Ash Wednesday", and other poems from Mr. Eliot's early and middle work. "In ten years' time," wrote Edmund Wilson in Axel0s Castle (1931), "Eliot has left upon English Few readers need any introduction to the work of the most influential poet of the twentieth century. In addition to the title poem, this selecion includes "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", "Gerontion", "Ash Wednesday", and other poems from Mr. Eliot's early and middle work. "In ten years' time," wrote Edmund Wilson in Axel0s Castle (1931), "Eliot has left upon English poetry a mark more unmistakable than that of any other poet writing in English." In 1948 Mr. Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize "for his work as trail-blazing pioneer of modern poetry".

30 review for The Waste Land and Other Poems

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fergus

    In 1918 the boys began their demobilization, and trickled back from the trenches. Did they get a hero’s welcome? Not on your life! For bitter cynicism had descended upon Europe like a ghastly pall, like “the yellow fog” which as T.S. Eliot wrote, had submerged Britain in its lacrustine depths, and then, simply “fell asleep.” For it was the beginning of our current long sleep of reason and decency. Nietzsche had forecasted the day correctly. It was the day of the Great Reversal - the quick and effi In 1918 the boys began their demobilization, and trickled back from the trenches. Did they get a hero’s welcome? Not on your life! For bitter cynicism had descended upon Europe like a ghastly pall, like “the yellow fog” which as T.S. Eliot wrote, had submerged Britain in its lacrustine depths, and then, simply “fell asleep.” For it was the beginning of our current long sleep of reason and decency. Nietzsche had forecasted the day correctly. It was the day of the Great Reversal - the quick and efficient Transvaluation of all Values - the advent of our Upside-Down Kingdom. Now it’s the air that we breathe, bitter Postmodernism. There is no Hiding Place anymore. Progress has demolished and flatlined it all! It’s like The Waste Land’s Tom Eliot described the working of his own mind in Rhapsody on a Windy Evening: his mind “beat like a fatalistic Tom-tom (pun intended).” But don’t we ALL mentally do that number on ourselves? Well, you might say, I may have OCD, but so what? At least the world is simple and understandable... but what jeering monsters has our proud cynicism NOW begotten! But that’s what the jeering masses did as the boys returned: turned cheers into I-told-you-so jeers. Good riddance to the hoity-toity tea & crumpets elite! But hey, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water, guys. Trouble is, the thoroughly educated, like Eliot and many of us, were numbered among this elite. All were being jeered. As well as his - and our - timeless intellectual treasures. So his - and our - most cherished values started to crumble when the boys returned, and the masses turned their backs on them. Jose Ortega y Gasset later described it in his epochal Revolt of the Masses, and their new ascendancy to the role of social arbiters. Arbiters indeed, Eliot said. The Tasteless Condemnation of all Taste - literary or otherwise! And Eliot, of course, saw it all. And he collapsed. He was admitted to a private sanatorium on the Continent, where he started to write this chaotically long masterpiece. Have you read it? Do you understand it? There are plenty of amazing books on it available! In a nutshell, it’s just like U2 sings it: I was shaking from a storm in me Haunted by the spectres that we HAD to see Yeah, I wanted to be the melody Above the noise, above the hurt For it was in a nutshell - as Oswald Spengler said it - the Decline of the West. Where we are NOW. It was then, as many foresaw, the beginning of a Brave (Foolhardy? Precarious?) New World. And the beginning of the end for Eliot’s upper-crust employer, Lloyd’s of London - for they are the ones who superciliously scrawled ‘Nervous Breakdown’ on his Sick Leave form. But Eliot didn’t care. For, as he says in the Waste Land about his breakdown: Phlebas the Phonecian, a fortnight dead, Forgot the (fruitless) profit and the loss... He had seen far too much to be ever-so-politely cowed now. And guess what? When he published this one poem he was catapulted to International Celebrity status. No more profit-and-loss balance sheets! He was world-famous. And a Rock Star to the kids who were starting to learn his stuff in school. And you know what? On the success of his books, he had secured his place in British Society - and was offered an excellent job as one of the founding editors of a fledgling new publishing house... The prestigious Faber Limited! For which company he became the principal Guiding Light, mentoring and publishing many of the younger British Writers who nowadays are ranked among the Great Masters of Modern Literature. The very ones who would warn US not to be too cock-sure of ourselves as social arbiters. Or has our cynicism forgotten that pivotal day, now that our own glory is threatened?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alok Mishra

    As a poet myself, I would thank T. S. Eliot for what he did by writing the most debated and influential poem of the previous and the current (this far) century. The Waste Land had shaped an entire generation of poets, giving them the free will to explore their thoughts without any fear of being judged by the meter... expression comes to Eliot naturally and The Waste Land is just an exceptional example of that. It's still relevant, contemporary and a must-read. For those who understand Poetry, Th As a poet myself, I would thank T. S. Eliot for what he did by writing the most debated and influential poem of the previous and the current (this far) century. The Waste Land had shaped an entire generation of poets, giving them the free will to explore their thoughts without any fear of being judged by the meter... expression comes to Eliot naturally and The Waste Land is just an exceptional example of that. It's still relevant, contemporary and a must-read. For those who understand Poetry, The Waste Land will never be second on the lists that they make...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    Eliot is such a pompous old fart, how could anyone not love him? When I was still in high school if you wanted to be in the group of people who had any pretensions as ‘intellectuals’ or whatever else it was we had pretensions of – Eliot was de rigueur. I know large slabs of this poem by heart and when I worked as a house painter would quote it at length at the top of my voice when I ran out of Irish songs to sing while I rolled the walls – which probably misses the point of the poem, but I love Eliot is such a pompous old fart, how could anyone not love him? When I was still in high school if you wanted to be in the group of people who had any pretensions as ‘intellectuals’ or whatever else it was we had pretensions of – Eliot was de rigueur. I know large slabs of this poem by heart and when I worked as a house painter would quote it at length at the top of my voice when I ran out of Irish songs to sing while I rolled the walls – which probably misses the point of the poem, but I love how it feels in my mouth – like having your mouth full of chocolates and then coffee and then brandy, no, better, Cointreau. There is something Romantic about this poem, despite it being the definitive Modern poem – all that stuff about, “The chair she sat in…” could be straight from Byron or Wordsworth. I love the jokes, the sex in a punt and the pocket full of currants and I still love all of the horrible sexual adventures that are all ‘whip it in, whip it out and wipe it’ for the men and so totally unsatisfying for the women. And that bit about fore-suffering all enacted on this same divan or bed with the wee typist woman and her drying combinations, is just so damn good. One final, patronising kiss and gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit. All the same, this is one of the masterworks of the language, some of it still forms a lump in my throat as the currents rise and fall and I pass through all the stages of my youth and age. Okay, so maybe I wouldn’t quite agree with him now that ‘if you want to read me, learn my language’ – pretty much meaning learn the whole of European poetry to read a single poem – but very young men find this is exactly the sort of thing that draws one to Nietzsche – and Eliot was always my favourite right-wing wanker.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    I consider The Hollow Men one of the greatest poems in the English language, and certainly the greatest from the 20th century. Here’s the start of it: We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats' feet over broken glass In our dry cellar Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion; Those who have crossed With direct eyes, t I consider The Hollow Men one of the greatest poems in the English language, and certainly the greatest from the 20th century. Here’s the start of it: We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats' feet over broken glass In our dry cellar Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion; Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom Remember us—if at all—not as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men. It just captures so much of the era and so much of the desolation and emptiness that followed the war; it reflects the melancholy that swept through the world. It’s a sad poem. It feels cold, detached and lonely. And I love it because it is so effective. If I was reviewing this book based on my opinion of that poem alone then this would be a five-star rating. But, alas, I am not because there is also a poem I detest in here. I consider The Waste Land one of the worse poems in the English language because of it’s incomprehensibleness. Every time I read it I get lost. Critically speaking, it a weird and wonderful construction but it is so inaccessible. I’ve read it several times over the years, and it really doesn’t get any easier. So for me this is a very mixed bag, worth a read though!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Terrington

    My ode to T.S. Eliot T. S. Eliot, You walked among the stars In your words, light trails blazing. Master of the modern, Ruler of the poetic. There is, and was, no poet to compare. Your mythology and legend stand immense. Behold the waste land of the world, Behold the glorious prose of a world shaker. Though some have called thee, Mighty and dreadful plagiarist, Such slander upholds your greatness, The potency of your reinvention. There is a power to you - in rewriting the eloquent So behold T.S. Eliot. A mast My ode to T.S. Eliot T. S. Eliot, You walked among the stars In your words, light trails blazing. Master of the modern, Ruler of the poetic. There is, and was, no poet to compare. Your mythology and legend stand immense. Behold the waste land of the world, Behold the glorious prose of a world shaker. Though some have called thee, Mighty and dreadful plagiarist, Such slander upholds your greatness, The potency of your reinvention. There is a power to you - in rewriting the eloquent So behold T.S. Eliot. A masterful poet. One who walked among the stars And brought the heavens a little nearer. What more can a poet do? There is a simplicity to the greatest poetry. And at once there is a complexity. There is a simplicity, in that the greatest works of poetry don't contain wordiness or explicitly state their intentions. They strip back language to allow for a nice flow and rhythm to what they are doing. But at the same time there is a complexity generated by a presumed sense of intent and knowledge. The poet assumes that you will get, from the scarcity of language used, what they are aiming to convey. And that is part of the beauty of language, that because the poet strips everything down, there is so much which you can read into and draw as your own understanding of what the poem is about. And that is what I sensed in The Wasteland and the other poems. The Wasteland is universally accepted as one of the most important pieces of modernism - regardless of all the arguments about it being a plagiarised piece of fiction. For an interesting breakdown on that idea of plagiarism and literature read this article . And no matter how you read Eliot's work: as a reinvention of older myths and narratives; as a depiction of a destroyed post-war landscape and the people affected by that world; or as a beautiful piece of art; there is so much to gain from reading this work. It really all proves that simply because older ideas are drawn upon and referenced that it doesn't have to be stealing. Upon further reading and analysis it has come to my attention that what Eliot does in this masterpiece is to both play off the worlds of the common peasants and bourgeoise with those who would be considered academic royalty. He sets up a comparison of white collar and blue collar workers, essentially creating a poem that works like a giant chessgame. In some ways a game of oneupmanship in which Eliot tells the reader that he is better than them but still sympathetic to them. This can be seen in the classical references to high forms of literary art that Eliot draws upon. But there are also elements in which Eliot shows that he is not supercilious and in fact appears to both sympathise and empathise with the proletariat working class (the second section for instance and in lines such as "consider Phlebas" particularly seem to suggest this). Regardless of how you want to read it I challenge you to go and read one of the great works of literature. It is a notoriously difficult poem to understand and I know I got very little of it, but it was powerful and moving. And I am now looking forward to further discussion and dissection of this in upcoming classes. Isn't the greatest power of literature apparent in how it lives on after we have read it?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Seemita

    Thomas Stearns Eliot. A lot is hidden between those three words. A whole world perhaps. A depth measured by many oceans, a mystery viewed from bewitching lenses, a song marrying numerous notes, a candle thriving on inexhaustible wax. During his writing season, that spanned over three decades, T S Eliot penned many evocative and luscious poems, with his pen always leaving a signature cryptic mark over his dotted sheets. Often a source of delusion to an enthusiastic poetic heart, his labyrinthine l Thomas Stearns Eliot. A lot is hidden between those three words. A whole world perhaps. A depth measured by many oceans, a mystery viewed from bewitching lenses, a song marrying numerous notes, a candle thriving on inexhaustible wax. During his writing season, that spanned over three decades, T S Eliot penned many evocative and luscious poems, with his pen always leaving a signature cryptic mark over his dotted sheets. Often a source of delusion to an enthusiastic poetic heart, his labyrinthine lyricism was like a lashing downpour on a parched heartland: one surrendered to the torrent at the risk of bearing undecipherable strokes on one’s soul. I belong to this clan. In this volume, his celebrated and most popular poems rub shoulders with their relatively lesser known but still dense cousins. And while my soul may curse my mind for being picky about Eliot’s poems, I might go asunder for a while and share with you three gems, whose themes, narratives, cadence and wholeness can be adorned by adjectives from the ‘superlative’ family alone. THE WASTE LAND In his most celebrated poem, his thoughts, meandering through five reverberating alleys of melancholy and despair, purport to create an image that oscillates between our meretricious values and late realizations. It begins with The Burial of the Dead where a collage of pictures bearing subdued trees, stony lands, dried showers and insipid sun leaves a young girl with a heavy heart who is further introduced to the throbbing futility of it all. And I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust. Leading us to the next alleys, Eliot plays A Game of Chess, issues A Fire Sermon, condemns us to a Death by Water and lets us hear What The Thunder Said. All through this trail, we are trembling; more with remorse or excitement, is something we can’t guess without ambiguity. Touching the themes of vengeance, repentance, nostalgia, penance and decay, he halts at ”Datta, Dayadhvan and Damyata” as the final rousing call. This mantra in Sanskrit translates to “Give, Sacrifice and Control” respectively. This trinity, capable of resurrecting our being in a more dignified and buoyant fabric, is left for the reader to comprehend and validate. Datta: what have we given? My friend, blood shaking my heart The awful daring of a moment’s surrender Which an age of prudence can never retract By this, and this only, we have existed Which is not to be found in our obituaries Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor In our empty rooms ------------ GERONTION Thou hast nor youth nor age But as it were an after dinner sleep Dreaming of both. Thus starts this splendid poem, which is a mighty paean to a person’s journey from youth to mellow. And as always detected by a fatigued eye, this journey is laden with discolored beliefs and stung steps. After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions, Guides us by vanities. Think now She gives when our attention is distracted And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late What’s not believed in, or is still believed, In memory only, reconsidered passion. ----------- ASH WEDNESDAY We are always in a vicious circle of creation and destruction. This engaging activity provides momentum to our lives and reinforces our core strength. I rejoice that things are as they are and I renounce the blessed face And renounce the voice Because I cannot hope to turn again Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something Upon which to rejoice. A pity, then, that we can’t always control this rigmarole. What if, dotting the circle, we reach a point from where a deviation threatens to derail our movement, propelling our faith engine to go kaput? The tumultuous fall, then becomes impossible to confine in words, for it pervades everything: our skin, our bones, our heart. Should we be foolish enough to expect a hand to pull us out of this ditch, at this hour, when all we have done till now, in our sturdy capacity, is overlook meek yet expectant eyes? Is hope of such benevolence, an absurdity? Well, there is someone, indeed, to whom we can always look upto. Will the veiled sister pray For children at the gate Who will not go away and cannot pray: Pray for those who chose and oppose. ---------- "Shantih Shantih Shantih - The Peace that passeth understanding." These poems are like pearls; the metaphorical oyster may pose a formidable guard but caress it with patience and stimulate it aloud and it will open up to a mesmerizing world of mellifluous prose and inspiring gist.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Waste Land and Other Poems, Thomas Stearns‬ ‎Eliot, T.S. Eliot (1888 - 1945) April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers. Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade, And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, And drank coffee, and talked for an hour. An The Waste Land and Other Poems, Thomas Stearns‬ ‎Eliot, T.S. Eliot (1888 - 1945) April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers. Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade, And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, And drank coffee, and talked for an hour. And when we were children, staying at the archduke’s, My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled, And I was frightened. He said, Marie, Marie,hold on tight. And down we went. In the mountains, there you feel free. I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter. What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, You cannot say, or guess. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هفتم: ماه سپتامبر سال 1972 میلادی عنوان: دشت سترون و اشعار دیگر؛ اثر: توماس استرنز الیوت (تی.اس. الیوت)؛ مترجم: پرویز لشگری؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، انتشارت نیل، بهار 1351، در 160 ص؛ موضوع: شعر معاصر جهان - سده 20 م دشت سترون، دفن مرده آوریل ستمگرترین ماه هاست؛ از زمین مرده، گلهای یاس میرویاند؛ یاد و هوس در هم میآمیزد؛ با باران، بهار ریشه های بیحال را، برمیانگیزد زمستان ما را گرم نگه داشت؛ زمین را در برف فراموشی پوشانید؛ با خشکیده ساقه های زیرزمینی؛ زندگی ناچیزی را پرورانید. تابستان بر ما شبیخون زد؛ ... ا. شربیانی

  8. 4 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    The Unreal Wastelands & Labyrinths - What Memory Keeps and Throws Away; An Exercise in Recollection: in flashes and distortions. ____________________________ You! Hypocrite lecteur! – mon semblable, - mon frère! ____________________________ Chimes follow the Fire Sermon: A rat crept softly through the vegetation; departed. A cold blast at the back, So rudely forc'd, like Philomela. It was Tiresias', it was he who doomed all men, throbbing between two lives, knowing which? Et O ces voix d'enfants, chan The Unreal Wastelands & Labyrinths - What Memory Keeps and Throws Away; An Exercise in Recollection: in flashes and distortions. ____________________________ You! Hypocrite lecteur! – mon semblable, - mon frère! ____________________________ Chimes follow the Fire Sermon: A rat crept softly through the vegetation; departed. A cold blast at the back, So rudely forc'd, like Philomela. It was Tiresias', it was he who doomed all men, throbbing between two lives, knowing which? Et O ces voix d'enfants, chantant dans la coupole! Excuse my demotic French! **** Let us go then, him (that carbuncular young man), and you - In a minute there is time For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. You may come or go, but speak not of Michelangelo. When there is not solitude even in the Mountains, When even the sound of water could dry your thirst, Then you can lift your hands and sing of dead pine trees. Have you yet been led, through paths of insidious intent, through every tedious argument, To that overwhelming question? **** Gentile or Jew O you who turn the wheel and look to windward, Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you. Sweet Thames, sweating oil and tar, Sweet Thames, run on softly till I end my song, for I speak not loud or long, for I speak not clear or clean, for I speak in the hoarse whispers of the last man, for it was I who murdered you, and Ganga, right under the nose, of mighty Himavant! You who were living is now dead. We who were living are now dying - With a little patience! Break The Bough, and hang yourself from it, Sweeney, Prufrock, The Fisher King and the sterile others, all will follow first, like corpses etherised on well-lit tables. **** Remember me, me - Tiresias, once more, for we are all him, yet not. The present will always look at the mirror, and see only a Wasteland, The Past is always the heavenly spring, running dry now. Perspective, Thy name is Poetry. **** London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down These fragments you have shored against my ruins. Why is it impossible to say just what I mean! Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. shantih shantih shantih **** ____________________________ You! Hypocrite reader, my likeness, my brother! ____________________________ Do I dare Disturb the universe?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    The first three published poetic volumes of T.S. Eliot career were a sudden surprise upon the literary community, but it was the third that became a centerpiece of modernist poetry. Published within a 5 year period during which not only Eliot’s style was refined but also influenced by his personal life and health. Throughout the rest of his career, Eliot would build upon and around these works that would eventually lead to the Noble Prize in Literature and a prominent place in today’s literature The first three published poetic volumes of T.S. Eliot career were a sudden surprise upon the literary community, but it was the third that became a centerpiece of modernist poetry. Published within a 5 year period during which not only Eliot’s style was refined but also influenced by his personal life and health. Throughout the rest of his career, Eliot would build upon and around these works that would eventually lead to the Noble Prize in Literature and a prominent place in today’s literature classes. While I am right now in no way ready to critique Eliot’s work, I will do so in the volume it was presented in. While the publishers and editors wanted to present Eliot’s work with his personal Notes or footnotes in the back of the book to preserve the author’s intention of presentation, over the course of reading the exercise of going from the front of the book to the back to understand the footnotes became tiresome. And while reading “The Waste Land” I had three places marked in my book so as to read the poem and then look at Eliot’s own Notes and the publisher’s footnotes, which quickly became a trial. This is a book I’m going to have to re-read over and over again for years to come to truly appreciate Eliot’s work. If you’re a better rounded literary individual than I am then this volume will probably be for you as it presents Eliot’s work in the forefront with no intruding footnotes at the bottom of the page; however if you are a reader like myself who wants to enjoy Eliot but needs the help of footnotes I suggest getting another volume in which footnotes are closer to the text they amply.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Hey, three stars from me for poetry is good! Why? Because I don't like the stuff. Yep, I'm a savage heathen. I LOVED the stuff as a teen. I wrote notebooks filled with poetry (or at least something like poetry) back then. Somewhere along the line I lost my taste for it and now I can barely stand it. Enter T.S. Eliot and his highly vaunted "The Waste Land". In some distant past, when I was in college or maybe it was even high school, I was told by teachers just how good this poem was. I don't reme Hey, three stars from me for poetry is good! Why? Because I don't like the stuff. Yep, I'm a savage heathen. I LOVED the stuff as a teen. I wrote notebooks filled with poetry (or at least something like poetry) back then. Somewhere along the line I lost my taste for it and now I can barely stand it. Enter T.S. Eliot and his highly vaunted "The Waste Land". In some distant past, when I was in college or maybe it was even high school, I was told by teachers just how good this poem was. I don't remember any of them explaining why. We never read it in class, although it is fairly short. I don't even recall being assigned the poem to read on my own. So I didn't. However, not having read something that "everyone else" has read really bothers me. The title floats about in my subconscious mind, occasionally whispering to me, "What, War and Peace? That book you haven't read yet, but everyone else has? Yes, that's still sitting unread on the shelf in the other room...just a few feet away. I hear it's good! But it's more of a book for real readers..." My brain is a dick. But it does get me off my ass, and so I finally recently read The Waste Land and Other Poems, not to mention War and Peace. Once upon a time schools taught children...I was going to go on, but no, that sums it up. Once upon a time schools taught children. They were made to learn Greek and Latin. They knew the classics. And some of them later became writers themselves and they wrote poems like those found in this book, filled with references lost on ill-educated clods like myself. One day when I grow up I'm going to learn how to understand "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "Sweeney Among the Nightingales". But this is not that day! No, these days I must be satisfied with remaining mired in my miserable ignorance, pleased to comprehend a mere portion of these poems. I am at least thankful to have grasped, and even enjoyed, parts of "The Waste Land" and others. To be honest, I wished I hadn't understood some of these, because they were stomach-churning. Sing-songy purple poetry (Is that a phrase? It is now!), whose titles I'll refrain from mentioning so as not to sour anyone's favorites, made me gag, cringe and convulse. Yes, it's better than anything I've ever written, but that doesn't improve it any in my mind. This is not for me. That rating includes three very subjective stars. It's merely my opinion, part of which takes into account my enjoyment level while reading. That pool was barely half-full.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Oriana

    This is one of my favorite books of all time and to prove it, I named my dog Prufrock. I wanted to put a picture of him here for you SO BAD that after stoically refusing for a million years, I finally opened a Flickr account so I upload my pix on GR. So here is a shot of the time the cutest dog ever did the cutest thing ever and I actually died. This is one of my favorite books of all time and to prove it, I named my dog Prufrock. I wanted to put a picture of him here for you SO BAD that after stoically refusing for a million years, I finally opened a Flickr account so I upload my pix on GR. So here is a shot of the time the cutest dog ever did the cutest thing ever and I actually died.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ruxandra (4fără15)

    I can connect Nothing with nothing. The broken fingernails of dirty hands. My people humble people who expect Nothing. la la

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alice (Married To Books)

    I picked up this collection after reading and loving the cat poetry written by Eliot. I'm feeling a little bummed however as The Waste Land on its own didn't gel as well with me, it did with my Mum when she studied this for her English Lit A-Level!! That being said, I loved reading The Journey of the Magi, very strong imagery across the stanzas. Overall: some of this was good reading, not all of it! I picked up this collection after reading and loving the cat poetry written by Eliot. I'm feeling a little bummed however as The Waste Land on its own didn't gel as well with me, it did with my Mum when she studied this for her English Lit A-Level!! That being said, I loved reading The Journey of the Magi, very strong imagery across the stanzas. Overall: some of this was good reading, not all of it!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    Probably my favourite poet. Poetry at its most incredible.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David

    I think "The Waste Land" and the other poems in this collection ("Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," and "Gerontion," "Portrait of a Lady" and "Four Quartets") are brilliant. That said, I have to sort of hold T.S. Eliot responsible for everything I hate about modern poetry. Obviously T. Stearns isn't wholly to blame, and I think he has a genius of his own, but I think that his influence on many of his poetic successors has mostly led to a disgusting pretension in poetry, which superficially veils I think "The Waste Land" and the other poems in this collection ("Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," and "Gerontion," "Portrait of a Lady" and "Four Quartets") are brilliant. That said, I have to sort of hold T.S. Eliot responsible for everything I hate about modern poetry. Obviously T. Stearns isn't wholly to blame, and I think he has a genius of his own, but I think that his influence on many of his poetic successors has mostly led to a disgusting pretension in poetry, which superficially veils emotions, quotes Latin, and ranks obscurity and abstruseness above art. Yea, I'm staking the claim: T.S. Eliot is the father of the hipster movement I mean, what could be more hipster than saying that Coriolanus is the greater tragedy to Hamlet? ...Right. "Oh yes, of course Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" was great and all, but have you heard their earlier demos, with Stevie singing in iambs, accompanying herself on the tambourine, and Lidnsay Buckingham on the zithern? Oh you haven't? It's sublime" For a American expat working as a bank clerk in London, Eliot was perhaps the first visionary of the caffeinated Brooklyn counterculture-turned-mainstream-turned-counter-counter-culture-ad-infinitum: Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, The muttering retreats Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells: Streets that follow like a tedious argument Of insidious intent To lead you to an overwhelming question ... Oh, do not ask, "What is it?" Yea, T. Stearns, let's traipse around Bensonhurst late at night when all the bars stop selling PBRs and take the dusty mixed-nut bowls off the counter, let's wipe the dust off of our hemp-sewn socks, and knock the much off our patent leather high-top shoes, and walk alone and look at the citylights and meditate on what it all means to be alive, and why rents are so high, and what is a good synonym for boredom (boredom - snoredom - apathy - lassitude - yawn - pococurantism (oooh that's a good one) - disinterest - l'ennui (ooh, nice use of freshman year French, man, high-five)), and why the sea is boiling hot and weather pigs have wings, etc. etc. One thing Eliot does master is capturing a rhythm without necessarily having a strict structure. Unlike many of his successors, Eliot's po- -etry has a meter and rhythm of its own, maybe inconsistent, but lyriccal in its own way: not just sentences with strange line breaks. Je ne peux pas mentir. Placet rithimorum.He is also a master of allusion, which spans all of time, and does not belong to a signular era. He borrows from Shakespeare, from Homer, Henry James, all sorts of authors and thinkers and tinkerers, and blends them with the lowbrow culture which was pervasive in his day, and has a bold rhythm which is counter to its highbrow literary past. However, despite the highbrow-lowbrow contrast, the varied allusions form a beautiful fugue of meaning, which says something about society as a whole in a realistic way. Dovetailing off of Eliot's convergence of the high and low brow cultures in poetry, there is a kind of split between the ultra-obscurism of Wallace Stevens (whom I adore) and Hart Crane, and the self-indulgent colloquiality of Auden, Berryman, etc. While I think these are talented poets, I think they fall short of the kind of musicality of Eliot's poetry. However, I think poetry these days (which isn't to say all of it, or necessarily much of it, but rather the sort of stock-persona of poetry) is highly self-indulgent and pretentious. In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo. In Williamsburg the hipsters come and go Talking of Michel Foucault.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Shepherd

    The broad-backed hippopotamus Rests on his belly in the mud; Although he seems so firm to us He is merely flesh and blood. Flesh and Blood is weak and frail, Susceptible to nervous shock; While the True Church can never fail For it is based upon a rock. The hippo's feeble steps may err In compassing material ends, While the True Church need never stir To gather in its dividends. The 'potamus can never reach The mango on the mango-tree; But fruits of pomegranate and peach Refresh the Church from over sea. At ma The broad-backed hippopotamus Rests on his belly in the mud; Although he seems so firm to us He is merely flesh and blood. Flesh and Blood is weak and frail, Susceptible to nervous shock; While the True Church can never fail For it is based upon a rock. The hippo's feeble steps may err In compassing material ends, While the True Church need never stir To gather in its dividends. The 'potamus can never reach The mango on the mango-tree; But fruits of pomegranate and peach Refresh the Church from over sea. At mating time the hippo's voice Betrays inflexions hoarse and odd, But every week we hear rejoice The Church, at being one with God. The hippopotamus's day Is passed in sleep; at night he hunts; God works in a mysterious way- The Church can sleep and feed at once. I saw the 'potamus take wing Ascending from the damp savannas, And quiring angels round him sing The praise of God, in loud hosannas. Blood of the Lamb shall wash him clean And him shall heavenly arms enfold, Among the saints he shall be seen Performing on a harp of gold. He shall be washed as white as snow, By all the martyr'd virgins kist, While the True Church remains below Wrapt in the old miasmal mist. T.S. Eliot, The Hippopotamus He's no Bob Dylan, but he's okay.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    I once won 50$ for reciting The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a coffee shop. Making this the only one of my books to pay for itself in a material way.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    106th book of 2020. Despite feeling a little 'book-hungover' from Swann's Way, I managed to savour the rest of Eliot's poems that are usually lumped in with 'The Waste Land', which I reviewed separately, because it is so long and intricate. My long and meandering review of that is here. The cover of this collection is very interesting. It does beg us to consider Eliot's world, smokey, modernist, haunting, post-war, but also, littered with mundane things that we imagine Eliot himself did, reading b 106th book of 2020. Despite feeling a little 'book-hungover' from Swann's Way, I managed to savour the rest of Eliot's poems that are usually lumped in with 'The Waste Land', which I reviewed separately, because it is so long and intricate. My long and meandering review of that is here. The cover of this collection is very interesting. It does beg us to consider Eliot's world, smokey, modernist, haunting, post-war, but also, littered with mundane things that we imagine Eliot himself did, reading books, the papers, drinking tea. A lot of travel happens in his poetry too, or the feeling of travel; that we are traversing this giant mental landscape (a term I more frequently use when describing Sebald's novels). In 'Journey of the Magi' - At the end we preferred to travel all night/sleeping in snatches.' The images are as haunting throughout as they are in 'The Waste Land'. We do not always understand where we are being taken by Eliot, or if we want to be taken, but all the same we are; we are drawn in by his language first, and by the time we leave, staggering, as if drunk, by the way the language has made us feel: disorientated, lost, scared. There were no more faces and the stair was dark,/Damp, jagged, like an old man's mouth drivelling,/beyond repair,/Or the toothed gullet of an aged shark.' So in these current times with little meaning but much feeling, Eliot does lead us through smokey streets with fetid images and confusing narratives, which somehow, become cathartic, too.

  19. 4 out of 5

    David

    This is probably one of the more difficult reviews for me. On one hand there is no doubt that Eliot is an absolute master, but on the other I found his poetry frustratingly inaccessible and not enjoyable to read. His immense influence on modernism is clearly evident, but his use of mythology and literary references made reading his poems feel at times as if each line was disconnected from the rest. I consider myself fairly well read in classical literature, mythology etc. but I felt as if I need This is probably one of the more difficult reviews for me. On one hand there is no doubt that Eliot is an absolute master, but on the other I found his poetry frustratingly inaccessible and not enjoyable to read. His immense influence on modernism is clearly evident, but his use of mythology and literary references made reading his poems feel at times as if each line was disconnected from the rest. I consider myself fairly well read in classical literature, mythology etc. but I felt as if I needed an interpreter through much of the material. Not to interpret the overall meaning of the poem, but to understand some of the individual ideas/works that were referenced. Eliot's poems would be a blast to read and study as a literature student, but for pure enjoyment they definitely miss the mark for me.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    I’ll admit it. I don’t understand "The Waste Land". I read it a few times, I listened to it on audiobook, I even looked up analysis on the internet. All to no avail, I don’t get it. Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to say that I totally understand Eliot, that people just take the wrong approach, that most readers lack the wide reading necessary to catch his esoteric references. I would bring it up at parties, perhaps with a quote or two to demonstrate my deep learning and penetrating mind. I I’ll admit it. I don’t understand "The Waste Land". I read it a few times, I listened to it on audiobook, I even looked up analysis on the internet. All to no avail, I don’t get it. Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to say that I totally understand Eliot, that people just take the wrong approach, that most readers lack the wide reading necessary to catch his esoteric references. I would bring it up at parties, perhaps with a quote or two to demonstrate my deep learning and penetrating mind. I would glance down my nose with a bemused expression at those who showed bewilderment. Maybe even a few Facebook statuses, who knows? But no, I don’t get it, and I am skeptical of anyone who says they do. They remind me of women who come and go, talking of Michelangelo. After all, I don’t care who you are (unless you are James Joyce), you’re not as well read as Eliot. Besides, from what I do understand, the poem doesn't form itself into a coherent picture or even a well-defined theme group. It is fragmentary all the way down; to its very core the poem resists analysis. For me, this is what is most intriguing, that I can excavate far below the surface of the poem’s meaning and get nowhere. Intriguing as "The Waste Land" is, I’ve always much preferred "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock". Of course, I don’t understand that poem either. But it does exactly what I expect a poem to do: manipulate language in beautiful ways. Just consider the beginning: “Let us go, you and I / When the evening is spread out against the sky / Like a patient etherized upon a table”. Right there, comparing the evening sky to somebody who has been knocked out ready for an operation. That’s genius. Love Song has a beautiful sing-song tone, like a little girl singing a nursery rhythm about the end of the world. I always imagine it being whispered by a five-year old in a tattered, neon-green tutu, sitting amid the rubble that used to be her home. But should I then presume? And how should I begin?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land... ________________ Retracing myself through the labyrinth of the Waste Land. Making an effort this time to read other sources, think about the project of making a mosaic out of a broken world. ___________________ Thank God for the Internet--really inspiring to read these dense works and then have access to such a myriad of supplemental sources. I've read this before and always got the gist and the music, but it's really spectacular t April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land... ________________ Retracing myself through the labyrinth of the Waste Land. Making an effort this time to read other sources, think about the project of making a mosaic out of a broken world. ___________________ Thank God for the Internet--really inspiring to read these dense works and then have access to such a myriad of supplemental sources. I've read this before and always got the gist and the music, but it's really spectacular to be able to get translations, references, allusions, even maps and photographs so easily. I"ve argued with my daughter about close readings of poetry--she thinks we read in a wee bit too much. And I agree, one should not lose the initial music and mystery to being too literal, and that it is a sign of our contemporary literalism that I'm tempted to google everything... and yet, I don't think it destroys the song and the mystery to actually know what that Italian or German or French poem or song was. It allows the rich, intricate poem or novel (Ulysses, say) to spread out into its variety of sources, unfolding into its matrix of Western Civilization, so that it's not only a text but an education.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    I have measured out my life with coffee spoons I first heard of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock while listening to a podcast of Entitled Opinions (thanks Tom) last winter. That podcast concerned Dante, however I found Eliot's images both vivid and modern. I then mentally shelved such for a future read. This present week appeared apt. While sorting through Marx and, then, Derrida on Marx and Shakespeare I found the prevailing winds favorable. Diving into such, I didn't care for the titular poem I have measured out my life with coffee spoons I first heard of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock while listening to a podcast of Entitled Opinions (thanks Tom) last winter. That podcast concerned Dante, however I found Eliot's images both vivid and modern. I then mentally shelved such for a future read. This present week appeared apt. While sorting through Marx and, then, Derrida on Marx and Shakespeare I found the prevailing winds favorable. Diving into such, I didn't care for the titular poem in the collection. The Waste Land and especially Eliot's notes for such strikes me as mere wanking. Oh well, verse isn't my métier, especially those alluding to the Grail. I did like Marina and Two Choruses from 'The Rock' I journeyed to London, to the timekept City Where the River flows, with foreign flotations. There I was told: we have too many churches.

  23. 4 out of 5

    J.M. Hushour

    This is another one of those works where it'd pointless to add to the reams and reams of scholarship. When people base their academic careers on a single poem and get pictures of Eliot's face tattooed on their scrotums, it's time to take a critical step back. I can say this: these aren't as good as I remember, especially 'The Wasteland'. I can appreciate it for its context, but in the grander scheme of poetry over the centuries, I'd rank it 'Middling' maybe, or even lower. Eliot has a fine sense This is another one of those works where it'd pointless to add to the reams and reams of scholarship. When people base their academic careers on a single poem and get pictures of Eliot's face tattooed on their scrotums, it's time to take a critical step back. I can say this: these aren't as good as I remember, especially 'The Wasteland'. I can appreciate it for its context, but in the grander scheme of poetry over the centuries, I'd rank it 'Middling' maybe, or even lower. Eliot has a fine sense of the darkness under the mundanity of life, and a fine sense of sonance, but he doesn't weather well, simply because there's been so much sense then that warrants scrotum tattooes more than him.

  24. 4 out of 5

    ♛Tash

    Never fails to give me goosebumps.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alice Lippart

    Very good, but not my favorite.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Petergiaquinta

    Of course this is a five-star volume of some of the finest poetry ever written in the English language...okay? Please don't hurt me. Over the past several days I have been re-reading (or slogging though) Prufrock, Gerontion, the Waste Land and the other poems in this collection. And why exactly would I do that? Why would anyone do that without a professor and a syllabus involved in the undertaking? Just think of it as a sort of self-conducted experiment involving brain research, or consider it a Of course this is a five-star volume of some of the finest poetry ever written in the English language...okay? Please don't hurt me. Over the past several days I have been re-reading (or slogging though) Prufrock, Gerontion, the Waste Land and the other poems in this collection. And why exactly would I do that? Why would anyone do that without a professor and a syllabus involved in the undertaking? Just think of it as a sort of self-conducted experiment involving brain research, or consider it a self-inquiry into how full of crap I am now compared to when I bought The Waste Land and Other Poems as an undergrad some thirty years ago...This all began with my major project of the summer, cleaning my basement, which essentially means vacuuming up pounds of mouse shit and taking many things out of boxes and then putting them back into boxes, sometimes the same boxes, sometimes not. And in one box, there was a bunch of poetry including T.S. Eliot: the Quartets, the Cats book (which I finally decided to read for the first time), and of course the Waste Land. And I wondered to myself, "Now that I am 30 years older and wiser, do you suppose I can understand Eliot better than I did back when I pretended I could?" And the answer is no, I can't, which is rather disappointing to discover about myself. So, despite reading hundreds of books over those intervening 30 years including a healthy dose of lit crit, despite a master's degree (even with one of the three questions on my comps asking for a comparison of Prufrock and "My Last Duchess"), despite living in Nepal for two years and ingesting a headful of Buddhist and Hindu thought along with hundreds of Indian comic book versions of the Mahabharat and the Ramayan, despite teaching AP Lit to scores and scores of high school students (wait, that might account for some of the problem here), despite suffering through eight years of George W. Bush, and despite repeated viewings of The Fisher King and The Big Lebowski, I am no closer to puzzling out what the hell Eliot is talking about in The Waste Land now than I was back in my dorm room when I was trying to impress the ladies by claiming that T.S. Eliot was one of my favorite poets. And hey, it's not you, Thomas Stearns; you tried. You gave me those notes for the Waste Land. No, it's me. I'm just realizing that despite those 30 years of seeming growth and development on my part I'm no smarter at understanding your poems than I was the year I bought them at a used bookstore in Evanston. However, I might suggest that those notes of yours to the Waste Land need some notes themselves, and then those notes probably could use a few notes as well. And, by the way, I wouldn't have minded if you had added a few of those notes for Gerontion or Marina or Ash Wednesday, either. Just sayin'... But if I'm no smarter a reader today of Eliot, I think I'm a better one and a more patient one. I can take my time to hear much better what Eliot is doing than when I read these poems for the first time. I don't think I felt the rhythm as well, or at all, thirty years ago or even knew how to read those lines to bring out the sound devices. I know I didn't hear all the music of Eliot's poetry before, and I'm surprised today at how beautiful those lines sound even if they are incomprehensible to mere mortal readers much of the time. And, by way of a postscript here, I wish somebody would add the cover of my edition of the poems to the Goodreads database. I have the 1979 Harvest/HBJ edition where T.S. is in close-up, shot from the waist up, hunched over his cane and looking more like your creepily dapper great-uncle Stan over for Christmas dinner than the author of Journey of the Magi.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nidhi P

    The Waste Land was and is a landmark in British poetry... The world can seldom get over it soon! T. S. Eliot will be remembered as the poet who could have the audacity to disrupt the usual poetic practices and come up with something entirely new and unique and fragmented...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    3.5 stars I have wanted to read The Waste Land since seeing various quotes taken from it strewn throughout Stephen King's works. My favorites are "I will show you fear in a handful of dust." and "This is how the world ends / Not with a bang, but with a whimper." Those quotes have always given me a little thrill when I see them mentioned in other books and novels, and they seemed to indicate to me that Eliot would be right up my alley, because it seemed that his work is dark, and a little twisted. 3.5 stars I have wanted to read The Waste Land since seeing various quotes taken from it strewn throughout Stephen King's works. My favorites are "I will show you fear in a handful of dust." and "This is how the world ends / Not with a bang, but with a whimper." Those quotes have always given me a little thrill when I see them mentioned in other books and novels, and they seemed to indicate to me that Eliot would be right up my alley, because it seemed that his work is dark, and a little twisted. I am not a poetry fan, but I thought that I might like Eliot despite that. And I did, mostly. I grabbed this from the library, and read most of the 88 pages on the walk home. It was a lovely, although windy, day, and I just enjoyed the walk home with my nose stuck in a book. This collection included the following (listed from the Table of Contents): - The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock - Preludes - Gerontion - Sweeney Among the Nightingales - The Waste Land I. The Burial of the Dead II. A Game of Chess III. The Fire Sermon IV. Death By Water V. What The Thunder Said Notes on 'The Waste Land' - Ash-Wednesday - Journey of the Magi - Marina - Landscapes I. New Hampshire II. Virginia III. Usk - Two Choruses From 'The Rock' I liked most of the poems here, and in fact I can't really say that there were any that I did NOT like, but I just find it really difficult and distracting to read in verse. I really enjoyed the feeling and imagery of these poems, but I still feel like I'm just not perceptive enough to catch everything and to understand the symbolism or meaning or depth of the poetry. This is my own failing, due to my own preference for reading prose rather than verse, but unfortunately, I have to take it out on poor Eliot. I did like it, but I just feel like I should have loved it. I feel a little bad for not loving it, and for only being able to give this one 3 1/2 stars, but such is life. I will try more Eliot though, maybe. At least he writes interesting stuff... ;)

  29. 5 out of 5

    andreea. (paperrcuts)

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. From The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: "For I have known them all already, known them all: Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons; I know the voices dying with a dying fall Beneath the music from a farther room. So how should I presume?" From Preludes: "I am moved by fancies that are curled Around these images, and cling: The notion of some infinitely gentle Infinitely suffering thing." From The Waste Land: "“My nerv Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. From The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: "For I have known them all already, known them all: Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons; I know the voices dying with a dying fall Beneath the music from a farther room. So how should I presume?" From Preludes: "I am moved by fancies that are curled Around these images, and cling: The notion of some infinitely gentle Infinitely suffering thing." From The Waste Land: "“My nerves are bad tonight. Yes, bad. Stay with me. “Speak to me. Why do you never speak. Speak. “What are you thinking of? What thinking? What? “I never know what you are thinking. Think.” I think we are in rats’ alley Where the dead men lost their bones."

  30. 4 out of 5

    João Fernandes

    "We have lingered in the chambers of the sea By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown Till human voices wake us, and we drown." I may have just found my favourite American poet, even if some of his poems are incredibly religious in nature. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is absolutely wonderful and has some of the most fluid rhyming I've ever read. "We have lingered in the chambers of the sea By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown Till human voices wake us, and we drown." I may have just found my favourite American poet, even if some of his poems are incredibly religious in nature. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is absolutely wonderful and has some of the most fluid rhyming I've ever read.

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