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

The Waste Land and Other Poems

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...

Title:The Waste Land and Other Poems
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:015694877X
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:88 pages

The Waste Land and Other Poems Reviews

  • Trevor
    Jan 10, 2008

    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.

  • Joseph
    May 28, 2017

    In the upcoming book

    by Bill Goldstein, Virginia Woolf is pleased by hearing "The Wasteland" read by Eliot. Several times she mentions that she has not read the poem but only listened to it. I did the same with the Audible edition. There is something to gain in listening.

  • Riku Sayuj
    Dec 01, 2011

    ____________________________

    ____________________________

    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, c

    ____________________________

    ____________________________

    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.

    ****

    ____________________________

    ____________________________

    Do I dare

    Disturb the universe?

  • Jonathan
    Jul 18, 2013

    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

    and the other poems.

    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

    . 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?

  • Oriana
    May 27, 2014

    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.

  • Jason Koivu
    Jan 14, 2015

    Hey, three stars from me for poetry is good! Why? Because I don't like the stuff. Yep, I'm a savage heathen.

    I

    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

    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,

    ? 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

    readers..." My brain is a dick. But it does get me off my ass, and so I finally recently read

    , not to mention

    .

    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.

  • Seemita
    Jun 05, 2015

    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.

    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

    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.

    Leading us to the next alleys, Eliot plays

    , issues

    , condemns us to a

    and lets us hear

    . 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

    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.

    ------------

    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.

    -----------

    We are always in a vicious circle of creation and destruction. This engaging activity provides momentum to our lives and reinforces our core strength.

    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.

    ----------

    "

    - 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.

  • Afshar
    Mar 01, 2017

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