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

The Waste Land and Other Poems (1922)

by T. S. Eliot

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8:16 pm 23 February 2015
The Waste Land and Other Poems - T.S. Eliot
I'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. ( )
  JudyCroome | Feb 23, 2015 |
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." ( )
  regularguy5mb | Jun 21, 2014 |
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! ( )
  pathogenik | Mar 2, 2014 |
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... ;) ( )
  TheBecks | Apr 1, 2013 |
I have never taken an instant like to a poet before. Not even Dorothy Parker, whom I adored reading. I don’t know what it is about Eliot, but the language just grabs you and snogs you and holds you. I just kept going back over verses, again and again, because some of the writing is just so damn pleasurable. My love for Ash Wednesday was so strong and so immediate that half a day later I was in a bookshop thumbing through the complete works.

It’s a doomed love affair. I’m sure soon enough I’ll find out he was a religious nutter who hated women or something. Until then, I’ll read a few more poems and enjoy them while I can.
( )
  h_d | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Let us go then, you and I, / When the evening is spread out against the sky / Like a patient etherised upon a table; / 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 is?' / Let us go and make our visit.
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This work (Harcourt) contains the following selected poems:
- The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
- Preludes
- Gerontion
- Sweeney Among the Nightingales
- The Waste Land
- Ash-Wednesday
- Journey of the Magi
- Marina
- Landscapes (I. New Hampshire; II Virginia; III Usk)
- Two Choruses from 'The Rock'

Please keep it separate from works with different selections and contents.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 015694877X, Paperback)

After sitting through T.S. Eliot's reading of "The Waste Land," listeners may be inclined to hang up the earphones for a spell. There are no flaws to Eliot's steady-toned interpretation; in fact, his delivery is quite remarkable in its ability to match the poem's constant, somber mood. It's just that 25-plus minutes of Eliot's desolate landscapes--rendered even more real by the author's incessant tones--can wear on the emotions.

In addition to the full-length version of "The Waste Land," this recording includes Eliot's stirring narration of "The Hollow Men," "Sweeney Among the Nightingales," and "Macavity the Mystery Cat." Listen to Eliot read from "The Waste Land." Visit our audio help page for more information. (Running time: 47 minutes, 1 cassette) --Rob McDonald

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:37 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The Waste Land and Other Poems, by T. S. Eliot, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriateAll editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

    Considered the most important poem of the twentieth century, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land is an oblique and fascinating view of the hopelessness and confusion of purpose in modern Western civilization. Published in 1922—the same year as Joyce's equally monumental Ulysses—The Waste Land is a series of fragmentary dramatic monologues and cultural quotations that crossfade into one another. Eliot believed that this style best represented the fragmentation of society, and his poem portrays a sterile world of panicky fears and barren lusts, and of human beings waiting for some sign or promise of redemption. Mirroring the destruction and disillusionment of World War I, The Waste Land had the effect of a bomb exploded in a genteel drawing room, just as its author intended. This volume also includes Prufrock and Other Observations (1917) and Poems (1919). Prufrock contains the poem that first put Eliot on the map, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, in which the title character is tormented by the difficulty of articulating his complex feelings. Among other masterpieces, Poems features Gerontion, a meditative interior monologue in blank verse—a poem like none before it in the English language.

    Randy Malamud is Professor of English and Associate Chair of the department at Georgia State University. His specialty is modern literature, and he has written three books and numerous articles about T. S. Eliot.… (more)

    » see all 2 descriptions

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