5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarifying the confusion
Responding to the response to the first review. Kerry Flannery-Reilly was thinking of _The Complete Poems and Plays: 1909-1950_, which is not complete, because it only includes 2 plays and lacks a few of the poems (including "The Cultivation of Christmas Trees," the last _Ariel Poem_ and the beautiful "A Dedication to My Wife" which Russell Kirk...
Published on Oct. 22 1999 by Just another reviewer
2 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Free verse is not poetry.
"Let us go then you and I" . . . "April is the cruellest month" . . . These are merely the two most famous examples of Mr. Eliot's ability to haunt us with a memorable line, a phrase, even a word: "Here I am an old man in a dry month" . . . "Do I dare to eat a peach?"
Mr. Eliot was the last in the line of great authoritative...
Published on March 22 2004 by samantha
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarifying the confusion,
Responding to the response to the first review. Kerry Flannery-Reilly was thinking of _The Complete Poems and Plays: 1909-1950_, which is not complete, because it only includes 2 plays and lacks a few of the poems (including "The Cultivation of Christmas Trees," the last _Ariel Poem_ and the beautiful "A Dedication to My Wife" which Russell Kirk highlights as the capstone of _Eliot and His Age_). This volume, _Collected Poems_, contains the complete poems Eliot wrote in his adulthood except for _Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats_ and, of course, the plays (to be found in _Collected Plays_.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Eagle Soared to the Summit of Heaven,
Love him or hate him, you cannot deny his power. All arguments for and against Mr. Eliot can be countered easily and each have in them flaws that are substantial. T. S. Eliot cannot be read like most poets. Like the eastern scriptures he so loved, Eliot will take a lifetime for the reader to digest. Read and re-read. Question and re-read again. I became familiar with his works years ago. I have yet to tire of them. Eliot will grow with you, for his poems are the story of a man always growing and always searching. Discount the fighting that academics have over him. Read him for yourself. Immerse yourself in the spiral of darkness and light that is his poetry and judge for yourself. In the end, no matter what you think, you will not be able to deny his effect.
5.0 out of 5 stars "Let us go, then, you and I",
This review is from: Collected Poems, 1909 To 1962 (Paperback)
The cultural relevance of Thomas Eliot's body of poetry magnifies as we hit the second decade of the Twenty-First Century. Recent wars in the Middle East have commonly centred on quarrels over tradition. Intrusion marked America's political regime throughout the Bush Era--an intrusion centred on economic concerns, and the United States' self-appointed role as "world police." However, these generalizations risk isolating key political issues, for which I lack developed expertise. To make any more would be foolish.
T.S. Eliot's poems ferreted out the big issues in very specific ways. Human war, politically and romantically, dominates his earlier work, famous for its bleak look at individuals leading half-lives. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "Gerontion" highlight situations of paralysis by investigating two personae. Prufrock is a man overcome by himself, but believes society is to blame. Gerontion is an elderly man who faces emotional sterility against a pattern of human war, and history. Each case shows two self-imposed exiles--Prufrock and Gerontion have allowed indecision to overcome them. However, Eliot situates these speakers against society and all its attendant difficulties. After hearing Prufrock lament that "there will be time to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet," it's hard not to notice Eliot's contextual view of individuals in their environment. Love involves risk, and risk causes fear. Reflection cripples love if left unchecked. Ultimately, the memory of what was and the desire for what may be escalates the crisis Prufrock faces. Failed integration seems to plague these dramatic monologues, both on a psychological and social level.
But what I end up loving Eliot for is his dogged love of life. It shows in these sympathetic poems to individuals struggling to see their reality. Eliot's despondency later gives way to joy, in my opinion: 'The Four Quartets' are a systematic attempt for him to leave his own "wasteland" behind. They are damn fine. "Burnt Norton" is maybe my favourite from the 'Quartets' - its look at time, the inevitability of conflict and decay, and how we can find joy from all that is all so touching. It revises, almost like Prufrock, the anguish from the earlier works, but breathes new life in a way that's so hard-won and final. If anyone doing anything that's worthwhile finds calluses and love, Eliot's definitely done this with his work, because he saw that love and calluses are not exclusive, but rather two sides of the same coin.
But reading Eliot is not a religious experience. It's reading a guy who loved people, and wrote about it. There's sadness maybe, but happiness is just around the corner of each page. It's like philosophy in action almost - one of the closest statements of life in writing I've ever come across. Eliot's one of the greats, and spending time with his work makes us all the better.
5.0 out of 5 stars Return to the Source,
Every now and then certain turns of phrase or glimpses of landscapes in special light or just buried memories of poetic lines surface and send us back to the source for more. So often that source for this reader is TS Eliot and encountering this wondrous collection of his poems written between 1909 and 1962 reinforces the power of this great man of letters. This collection includes the major poems, those works that impacted our philosophy and our art in ways we are only now beginning to appreciate. From the ever fresh LOVE SONG OF J.ALFRED PRUFROCK "I grow old...I grow old.../I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled" and "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.") to the great FOUR QUARTETS ("In my beginning is my end"), this poet rattled the universe and simultaneously whispered solace in our ears like few others have done. While my own energies are always looking for the new in poets and in writers, finding that the throne of literature has never been so sought after, I am deeply moved by returning to the masters, the source of it all. This is a fine collection for the Eliot devotees as well as for those who seek to appreciate the great voices of literature. Here are savoury moments in abundance!
5.0 out of 5 stars A diamond mine,
PRUFOCK AND OTHER OBSERVATIONS
THE LOVESONG OF J. ALFRED PRUFOCK
This poem is a beauty. The language is so fluent that it flows lightly and evenly between our ears and its music is perfect and delightful. The images build up a crown or a wreath, according to tastes, life and death mixing equally with love and gloat. Deeply shakespearian by its syntax it is pure Chopin by its music, both rhythm and notes.
THE WASTE LAND
One of T.S. Eliot's bestknown poems. What I am feeling is more an impression than a meaning. The world is old, like coming to its end, decaying. The poet sees and only sees. It is soundless and yet it is music. He brings together all sorts of recollections, experiences and small vignettes of the world, and a whole array of references to all kinds of cultures to show how the past is foregone and the future is not there. There remains only the thunder that speaks unaudible sounds of farewell on a road we cannot even see, nor follow as for that.
THE HOLLOW MEN
It is the end of the world, and this is nothing but a whimper because men are hollow. They do not contain anything. They are ghosts of history, so that history itself is a ghost and the world has no future. This poem is extremely and astoundingly modern indeed. NO FUTURE.
This poetry is entirely dedicated to death, but also to the time between birth and death, a time of turning, a time that is felt like flying, going, flowing but there is no word, no world able to whirl any sound. Men are like living deads, already dead and moving towards death with no hope, except maybe the hope of God, but God is silent, so there is the only consolation of the Lady who is also silent and comes only after death to stare more than anything else.
CHORUSES FROM « THE ROCK »
« Where is the Life we have lost in living ? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge ? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information ? » These choruses are entirely dedicated to God, but with some original approach. What is important is what comes from God. God is light, but a light that is invisible and it is this invisible light that must help us never to forget that man is spirit and body, just like the Temple, and that the spirit suffers when the body suffers. And the body does suffer a lot in our mechanical times. The body is split in myriads of individuals who do not think the body as one, and society as one, and this oneness as communion with the light of God, an invisible light in a time when touching is the proof of existence.
By far the crowning of T.S. Eliot's poetry. The evanescent equilibrium point between a whole set of couples of antagons. The present is such a point, but demultiplied by a myriad of other couples. Past-Future, Has-been-Might-have-been, and this point is movement, constantly moving between those antagons. It gives you a vertigo, the vertigo we feel in front of the present that is a constantly moving equilibrium point. Fascinating. Men are no longer hollow but they are unstoppable motion. They are some light, fine and fuzzy moving line between all the antagons of human nature, of nature as for that. Then a long and rich metaphor of life with the sea, neverending movement that ignores past and future but is pure present and nothing else. Men and women can only worship this everlasting present motion, time and place that is no time, no place and no motion, just unstable energy burnt in its own existence.
OLD POSSUM'S BOOK OF PRACTICAL CATS
A set of nice and musical poems on various cats. They are enchanting and light and every rhyme is the best, each one better than all the others. A little book to be given to boys and girls who do not know yet that language is art and speaking may be a compliment to their lives.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
4.0 out of 5 stars of The Hollow Men,
The Hollow Men (1927)(T.S. [Thomas Stearns] Eliot 1888-1965)
Did T.S. Eliot have a sense of humor? I don't know; but, I sure as heck hope so. Because as we reach its end, the greatest poet of the 20th Century seems destined to be remembered as the guy who wrote Cats. His banishment from the canon was probably inevitable, what with being a white male Christian and the whiff of anti-Semitism wafting from him, but if he ever had a chance to cling to his spot on the basis of his early classics like The Wasteland and Prufrock, works like The Hollow Men pretty much guaranteed he would be consigned to oblivion. For this poem, while not as coherent an attack on Modern values or lack of said, as the writings of someone like C.S. Lewis, is certainly one of the most eloquent.
THE HOLLOW MEN (1927)
Mistah Kurtz-he dead. A penny for the Old Guy
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 rat's feet over broken glass In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without color, Paralyzed 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.
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams In death's dream kingdom These do not appear: There, the eyes are Sunlight on a broken column There, is a tree swinging And voices are In the wind's singing More distant and more solemn Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer In death's dream kingdom Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer -
Not that final meeting In the twilight kingdom
This is the dead land This is the cactus land Here the stone images Are raised, here they recieve The supplication of a dead man's hand Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this In death's other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone.
The eyes are not here There are no eyes here In this valley of dying stars In this hollow valley This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
In this last of meeting places We grope together And avoid speech Gathered on this beach of the tumid river Sightless, unless The eyes reappear As the perpetual star Multifoliate rose Of death's twilight kingdom The hope only Of empty men.
Here we go 'round the prickly pear Prickly pear prickly pear Here we go 'round the prickly pear At five o'clock in the morning.
Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom Between the conception And the creation Between the emotion And the response Falls the shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existance Between the essence And the descent Falls the shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom For Thine is Life is For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper
I wouldn't pretend to understand all of this, nor exactly what it is he's trying to say, but I do know what it says to me. I take it as an indictment of Modern man and the failure of confidence that characterizes us. The epigraph about Mr. Kurtz, from Conrad's Heart of Darkness (see Review), seems to harken back longingly for even such monstrous men who at least believed in what they were doing, however horrific the results. It sets up a natural contrast to the hollowness of Modern man , who fundamentally believes in nothing and is, therefore, empty at the core of his being, like a Guy Fawkes dummy.
Two other powerful images really appeal to me. The comparison of the sound of modern voices to "rat's feet over broken glass" aptly dismisses all of the psycho babble and faux spirituality of the age, all of modernity's futile effort to replace the beliefs that have been discarded. And, of course, the great lines, "This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper" remind me of an argument that I used to enjoy during the Cold War when such melodramatics seemed more appropriate; that it would be better to just juke it out with the USSR, just let the missiles fly, than to gradually succumb to Communist domination. Of course, this seems like the product of unbalanced minds now that we've triumphed, but think back to things like Dr. Strangelove and you get a feel for the tenor of the confrontation between absolutists and appeasers. I for one preferred the bang to the whimper.
This is a powerful poem that rewards repeated readings, revealing different interpretations and images with each successive return.
5.0 out of 5 stars Prometheus of modern poetry,
I became familiar with Eliot's work chronologically, learning something new at each step. "Prufrock" introduced me to modern poetical structure, "The Waste Land" showed me how literary allusion can enrich verse, "Ash-Wednesday" refreshed the world of religious poetry, and the supernal "Four Quartets" was for me a metaphysical insight of the greatest beauty.
Eliot is without a doubt the finest poet of the 20th century, perhaps the finest poet ever. His contributions to the poets who came after him, and to literature in general, are persistently evident. Eliot doesn't always succeed, and many of his poems seem trite and pretentious, but when he succeeds he hits dead on with poetry perfect in form, balance, and sound. There is the man here, the poet as reflected in his own work, but there is also common human experience through looking at history ("The Waste Land") and meditating on Man's relationship with the Divine and the eternal (Ariel Poems, and most of his output after 1928).
5.0 out of 5 stars Modernism and Genius,
Eliot's mastery of the complicated form and intense imagery of modernist poetry is without comparison. His complexity of allusion and intertextuality, his irreverence in moments of drama, his quirky and sometimes self-deprecating humour amidst the brightness and freshness of his own particular brand of the modernist form is starkly and completely unique.
Eliot is a landscape populated with the dirty, smelly working class amidst mythical themes and figures; his imagery both divine and shockingly, intimately basic; his often symphonic (ie Preludes) form so true to the rejection of a linear narrative.
Some may see some of Eliot's work as overly bizarre or even inaccessible; but even ignoring the grandness of allusion, the sheer, glancing quality of his lyricism and his offbeat yet exact dynamic of construction make this some of the most wonderful poetry ever. There is such depth here, both for the mind to grasp and the heart to love, that to begin Eliot is to begin walking an ever broadening highway: reassurance both of the ground beneath one's feet and the hazy horizon at the edge of the eye's range.
5.0 out of 5 stars my first poet and inspiration to write,
By A Customer
Reading Eliot is partly about nostalgia for me, as he is the first poet who really "meant something" to me as an adolescent, thus dragging poetry out of the realm of the obscure and dusty ivory tower, and into the realm of the living, moving and evocative. Of course now I realize that the level on which I read most of these poems (visceral, emotional), was barely scratching the surface of the author's craftsmanship or intent. Perhaps these were meant to be unlocked only by the academic, but I am of the school of thought that the author's intention is secondary to the primary effect of the text as an independent object. So if I as a teenager was able to attatch personal significance to "Prufrock" notwithstanding my total lack of background, that is a valid and important experience.
I bought this book this time around for a close friend, hoping he could experience some of the musical dizziness of words and recognition of the cyclical darkness and illumination which I felt as a first time reader.
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Stearns,
Even if you don't like Eliot's poetry, chances are that he quotes some lines from a poet you like. Eliot copies and pastes other people's writings to equate himself with them. Continuously alluding to Dante does not make one as good as Dante. Such comparisons should be based on one's own writings. I would have acepted the wasteland as a hoax. I don't understand why Virginia Woolf admired Eliot's writings, especially due to the misogyny in "A Game of Chess" (which I admire). Nonetheless, poems like the "Hippopotamus" and "Sweeney Erect" are original and striking. Not that the Wasteland is plagiaristic, but it questions the poet's own abilities. Thus, it is no surprise that a hyaena pack full of untalented hacks imitate this style, because all they have to do is browse through the library for an hour or so and piece together a poem. The edition is nice, though, nice acid-free paper and a peachy cover. Go read George Herbert, heathens.
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Collected Poems, 1909 To 1962 by T. S. Eliot (Paperback - Feb. 5 2002)
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