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The Waste Land and Other Poems

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Loosely based on the Arthurian legend of the Holy Grail and the Fisher King, “The Waste Land”, which first appeared in 1922, is a landmark work of Modernist poetry. Containing hundreds of allusions and quotations from other works, “The Waste Land” is marked by a disjointed structure which moves between voices and imagery without a clear delineation for the reader, a hallmark of Modernist literature. Arguably Eliot’s most famous work, the theme of the poem, as the title would suggest, is ultimately a dire one, of disillusionment, despair, and death. Also included in this collection is “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” a work which preceded “The Waste Land” having been first published in 1910. Regarded as the beginning of Eliot’s influential period, “Prufrock” was considered idiosyncratic at first but with time has been recognized as an important shift in poetry from the Romantic era to the Modernist one. “The Wasteland and Other Poems”, which includes an additional twenty-three poems, collects some of the most pivotal works of the Modernist literary movement, which would establish Eliot as one of the most important poets of the 20th century.

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The Waste Land and Other Poems - T. S. Eliot

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Eliot is one of the most casually devastating poets in history. "This is the way the world ends."His work gets more profound with each reading.
~~~On First Reading~~~There's not much to be said about these poems on first reading. For the most part they're too cryptic to be properly understood right off the bat, with one exception being "Journey of the Magi"."Journey of the Magi" is a monologue, assumedly from one of the famous Magi from the East who came looking for Jesus in the wake of a star. Basically (and I say this with a reserve of irony, since Eliot's poetry can hardly be described as basic) it concerns the effects, on one, of a religious experience.The rest of the poems will have to wait on a second reading.
8:16 pm 23 February 2015 The Waste Land and Other Poems - T.S. EliotI've read (and listened to) this collection of poems half a dozen times. THE WASTE LAND is, without a doubt, still my favourite. It's hard to understand, pompous at times and so dense with allusions to other works I lose track of what's Eliot's work and what isn't. And yet ... on some atavistic level this poem still "talks" to me. The rhythm, the magic, the sheer (dare I say it) poetry in the lines (April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land) draws a reader in and shakes up emotions I didn't even know I had. The tension between the physical and the metaphysical is tremendous; Eliot clearly had a deep experience of how earthbound and limited we are by the very denseness of our bodies (...the last fingers of leaf Clutch and sink into the wet bank), while the voice of our souls rush by unheard (The wind Crosses the brown land unheard). THE WASTE LAND is a mournful cry of a man trapped in a world of harsh reality (it was written only four years afer the devastation of Europe in World War 1), sensing there is something more (Madame Sosostris), yet unable to feel or perhaps believe in it (... this card, which is blank,...,which I am forbidden to see). Here, in this poem, is the struggle between the intellect and the emotions (fear death by water - in the Tarot the water cards represent emotion), good and evil and man's lower, sexual nature and his higher, Divine nature. What a brilliant, depressing, strong poem it is!So strong, it almost overshadows the other poems in this collection. But ASH WEDNESDAY, with its tone of sorrow and penitance already obvious from the title, is another powerful poem, as is JOURNEY OF THE MAGI and the remainder of the poems. In its struggle between hope and despair, this collection is as relevant today as it was in Eliot's time and is worth the effort it takes to try and grasp its elusive meaning.
It's not you, T.S. Eliot, it's me.
A life changer that shows the hollowness of what we take for real. Symbols city. Through this to something far more.
Though I've written some poetry and many songs I don't tend to read poetry and this collection reminded me why. It seems that poetry is a very personal thing and that often it is incomprehensible to anyone but the author, especially for those not willing to put in the extra effort. An example would be Shakespeare, but at least his words are often beautiful and tell a story. For me, this collection was utterly devoid of anything redeeming. I didn't find a single line that I thought was intriguing, beautiful or even clever. I didn't connect with any of it. It was just so many words strung together and often coupled with nonsensical rhymes.I do have one admission to make though. I picked up this collection as part of a reading challenge that required a book of poetry, but also because I mistakenly thought that "The Wasteland" was "The Second Coming" by William Butler Yeats, which I had remembered enjoying at some point in the past.
I've always loved Eliot's style. His poems have this magnificent lyrical quality to them. Favorites from this collection include "The Hollow Men" and "Ash-Wednesday," and of course "The Waste Land."I like that the editor included T.S. Eliot's original notes on "The Waste Land." It was nice to see. Also gave me some more books to add to my list, because if a master like Eliot finds inspiration in them...The only thing I didn't like about this collection is the fact that it was not put together by Eliot himself, but someone collecting their personal favorites. Nothing overtly wrong with this, but I'd rather have a book that was arranged by Eliot from start to finish. This reads more like a "best of."
So far I've only read "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", but wow. Amazing. I had so many moments of sheer pleasure and fascination reading this. MOAR."I should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas"EDIT: I've read a few more. Eliot has the ability to paint a vivid, confusing picture in your mind that--for me--catches up with you a few lines later. I found myself slowly realizing a grin and having to leaf back to find what I had read that I found so warm and wonderful."The Waste Land" - I would definitely echo Ralph Ellison's sentiments: I don't get it, but damned if it isn't badass (paraphrase).
I like Eliot's work in general, and I was not aware that The Waste Land was a World War I poem, which gave it a different perspective than I had the first time I read it.
My favorite poem was 'What the thunder said' oh wow! I LOVED it, I swam and drowned in it :)
I gave it 4 and not 5 stars, because some passages were a bit dry, with dry non-poetic words. Some parts are way too amazing, though!!! I loved this book, really loved it!
Also includes Prufrock and "La Figlia Che Piange," one of my favorite poems.
This is a short collection of poems of ten poems by TS Eliot, including his longer works "The Wasteland", "The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock", and "Ash Wednesday", as well as some shorter works.Some of these (such as Prufrock and Landscapes) are transparent enough on the first read through. However "The Wasteland" requires a lot more work – the allusions, the references, the symbolism is all more dense and consistently obscure than that found in pretty much all poetry written before this. This is not to say however that we can't understand its general meaning quite well without having read it a dozen times, read a commentary on it, and listened to a couple of lectures (though you will probably want to), as its tone and imagery convey enough of its meaning without us getting every reference and allusion. And this is what makes it work as poetry – that it communicates exactly what it is trying to communicate without the reader completely and consciously understanding all of its content straight away – because it works on more than one level.So what is the Wasteland about? It's about post-war London – about how horrible it is, like Dante's hell. It's about a fractured Europe which is compared to the body of Osiris chopped up and scattered around. It's about decay, the grubbiness and shabiness of things, and the parched wasteland of society waiting for renewal following World War I. The symbolism is variously religious, mythological, literary, operatic, contemporary, and exotic. Aside from the depressing content of the Wasteland, its deliberate obscurity means that it lacks much of the immediate aesthetic appeal that entices many people to much poetry. However this is what Modernism is about – creating something new that doesn't always rely on the aesthetic appeal of orderly verse, attractive imagery, fine sentiment, and clarity – in the same way that modernism in painting broke the traditional rules of visual aesthetics. Eliot didn't invent modernism in poetry, but he does exemplify it. He uses different voices, mixes up symbolism and references from different cultures, with different meters, styles, themes and tones. This gives the poetry a cultural richness and a lot to get out of it, but this requires more of the reader, and for this reason Eliot won't appeal to many readers.
My understanding is that The Waste Land (1922) is a landmark in poetry and a very influential collection. Eliot assembled it in a Swiss sanitarium while recuperating from a nervous breakdown; among other things his marriage was deeply unhappy and beset by his wife’s many sicknesses. Eliot writes like a jazz musician plays, coming at the reader from many lyrical angles and from a wealth of cultural, philosophical, and religious references. Unfortunately, I’m not a huge jazz fan, and I had the same thing feeling reading this as I do listening to jazz. I desperately wanted to like it, but was unable to fully appreciate it. There are some flashes of brilliance and this is undoubtedly writing that will elicit a wide variety of responses. From “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, my favorite from the collection:…Do I dareDisturb the universe?In a minute there is timeFor decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.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 fallBeneath the music from a farther room.…Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,I am no prophet – and here’s no great matter;I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,And in short, I was afraid.…It is impossible to say just what I mean!But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:Would it have been worth whileIf one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,And turning toward the window, should say:“That is not it at all,That is not what I meant, at all.”…I grow old … I grow old …I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.…From Preludes:…I am moved by fancies that are curledAround these images, and cling:The notion of some infinitely gentleInfinitely suffering thing.…From The Waste Land (III. The Fire Sermon)…The time is now propitious, as he guesses,The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,Endeavours to engage her in caressesWhich still are unreproved, if undesired.Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;Exploring hands encounter no defence;His vanity requires no response,And makes a welcome of indifference.…From The Hollow Men:…This is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsNot with a bang but with a whimper.