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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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I don't really know what to say about this except "read it." How do I review The Waste Land without writing a lengthy academic paper (which, btw, I have done)? It's a gorgeous poem, full of imagery and symbolism. Read it, then read it again. ( )
  tldegray | Sep 21, 2018 |
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. ( )
  P_S_Patrick | May 11, 2018 |
I'll admit I didn't 'get' most of it. I mean, the poem The Waste Land is crazy dense with references...
But it seemed really beautiful... I just have no idea. 3/5 to be safe, I suppose... ( )
  weberam2 | Nov 24, 2017 |
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. ( )
  ragwaine | May 20, 2017 |
Probably the best poetry I have ever found. ( )
  AlexandraWD | May 24, 2016 |
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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'

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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:21 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Contains the title piece, first published in 1922, and includes "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," "Gerontion," "Ash-Wednesday," and other poems from the author's early and middle work.

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