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Nocturne
08-30-2001, 09:08 PM
Are there any other huge T. S. Eliot fans out there? He is my absolute favorite poet. Robert Frost comes right after him.

My favorite poem right now is "Rhapsody on a Windy Night," but I know my absolute favorite poem will always be "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." I wrote a HUGE paper on that poem...it was wonderful.

WEW
08-30-2001, 09:19 PM
not with a bang, but a whimper.

When I was in college, we did a choral piece set to that poem. It was eerie.

Dr_Paprika
08-30-2001, 09:20 PM
But if it had to perish twice,
I'd probably still like Wallace Stevens.

Chance the Gardener
08-30-2001, 09:30 PM
I love T.S. Eliot. I've been reading and rereading The Wasteland for over ten years now. Every April I read it aloud, whether there's anyone else around or not. (Usually there isn't).

Eliot's my favorite poet (though I do agree with him about Ezra Pound). Some time ago, I found out that he and I share a birthday. I was thrilled.

Prufrock is what got me into Eliot, but The Wasteland is my favorite. I've been working on an epic parody of The Wasteland. I love that poem.

Montfort
08-30-2001, 09:48 PM
It seems that everytime I need an epigraph for a story, I pull something from Eliot. I'm not sure why, I'm not the biggest fan, but if I need a quotation, he's the man.
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
from "The Hollow Men"

Drastic
08-31-2001, 12:52 AM
I've always had a fondness for "Ash Wednesday," and the closing lines of "Little Gidding" have never ceased to stun me.

I had a course in college focusing on the works of he and Ezra Pound; in my opinion we spent too much time on the essays of Eliot, and too little on his poetry, and conversely too little time on Pound's essays (the crazy bastard did great literary rants before he turned his ranting powers to the service of evil) and too much on his poetry. I wrote something I titled "Canto AIEEEE" inspired by his stuff, including random foreign words, and at one point the "Kilroy was here" pictogram, which the professor was highly amused by.

Lionors
09-01-2001, 07:36 PM
Anyone get that glurge friendship e-mail where it talks about seizing the moment because you never know when you're going to die? (I've seen several versions, all imploring you to pass it to five or six people.) How about sending them this instead?

...My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed
Which is not to be found in our obituaries
Or in memories draped by the beneficient spider
Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor
In our empty rooms...

<sigh>

My favorite's Prufrock, though. BTW, for anyone with children or who teaches and likes to use children's literature in their classroom, there's a wonderful, wonderful illustrated book out there (several years old now) of the Battle of the Pekes and Pollicles. (I think it may have Growltiger's Last Stand in it also, but it's been some time since I've seen it.) Great stuff.

MrDibble
09-04-2001, 02:17 AM
I once went into a movie called "I've heard the mermaids singing" just on the title alone. Not a bad film, at that.

I grow old, I grow old,
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled
Shall I part my hair behind?
Do I dare to eat a peach?
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think they will sing for me.

Gyrate
09-04-2001, 06:38 AM
In the chat rooms the women come and go
Talking of Leo Di Caprio

:)

My mother used to read Prufrock to me when I was a child. I'm reasonably sure it didn't warp me too terribly.

OTOH, The Waste Land moved me deeply. I still get chills at lines like this:

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or you shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
Creepy. <shudder>

Lionors
09-04-2001, 09:04 AM
Who better to warp you at bedtime than Eliot?

(That was a rhetorical question. Please, no other 'helpful' suggestions. <cough> )

If my waning memory serves, I actually discovered Eliot because of a line in a young adult book I read in my early teens called The Chocolate War. (I think it's by Robert Cormier --that is again, if my memory's not too off.) The main character has a poster in his locker with the phrase 'Do I dare disturb the universe?'. Cormier actually uses this as the underlying theme of the whole book, but that line in the context of the book got me searching until I found the poem it came from...and the rest was history.

Jr8, I should lob a peach pit your way for your opening line, but I'd be snickering too hard to have accurate aim. :)

Where did the rest of you first encounter your Eliot and why does your favorite piece speak so powerfully to you?

Ukulele Ike
09-04-2001, 11:36 AM
I like his real early stuff, which doesn't get alluded to as often as "Prufrock" or The Wasteland or Four Quartets.

Paricularly "Mr. Apollinax" (I love to say "There was something he said that I might have challenged!" in a hurt voice, especially after a statement from a politician) and "The Boston Evening Transcript."



"The readers of the Boston Evening Transcript
Sway in the wind like a field of ripe corn..."

Ukulele Ike
09-04-2001, 11:41 AM
Originally posted by Lionors
Where did the rest of you first encounter your Eliot and why does your favorite piece speak so powerfully to you?

College. I had a good friend who was really into him (and Pound and Stevens), plus an excellent course on 20th century poetry.

"Mr. Apollinax," the title character of which is based on Bertrand Russell, is a wonderful miniature portrait of an eccentric yet sterling intelligence running amok amongst the Normals, portrayed in the poem as Mrs. Phlaccus and Professor Channing-Cheetah.

"The Boston Evening Transcript" is just a beautiful bittersweet image of people missing out on life. A highbrow's "Eleanor Rigby."

Stella*Fantasia
09-04-2001, 01:46 PM
I love Eliot. "Ash Wednesday" & "The Wasteland" most of all, though the bit about April being the cruelest month has never made a whole lot of sense to me, probably because I'm a Baltimoron. April's just beautiful here. I always figured it was one of those things that you had to be British to understand, like mushy peas.

I just like the way that every time I read something by Eliot, I find something that I didn't see before.

betenoir
09-04-2001, 05:05 PM
Originally posted by Stella*Fantasia
I love Eliot. "Ash Wednesday" & "The Wasteland" most of all, though the bit about April being the cruelest month has never made a whole lot of sense to me, probably because I'm a Baltimoron. April's just beautiful here. I always figured it was one of those things that you had to be British to understand, like mushy peas.





No no no no no.

I have to say something.

The point is April is cruel BECAUSE it's beautiful. It the winter you can be small and think your small thoughts ("winter kept us warm...feeding a little life with dry tubers") But April gives you the promise of new life. Of hope. A hope that can be destroyed. And having that hope and belief in life and having it destroyed is more painful then remaining cold and inert as you were in winter. April is cruel for giving you hope.


God, that's depressing. I love Elliot.

aegypt
09-05-2001, 07:37 AM
"T.S Eliot" is an anagram of "toilets".

Just something that struck me as I was reading this thread. I should probably go to bed now.

plnnr
09-05-2001, 08:17 AM
I read Prufrock in the poetry division of the state forensics competition my senior year in high school and rode that sucker all the way to the state finals - got beat by a guy reading "Ain't I Black?" by Langston Hughes (?). Oh well, it was a good ride while it lasted.

Hard to believe he was from St. Louis, isn't it? He seems so very, very British. Word is that he spent some time with the royal family after which the Queen Mum asked who he was - that he "was a boring little man - quite like an office clerk."

Humble Servant
09-05-2001, 09:28 AM
Originally posted by plnnr
Hard to believe he was from St. Louis, isn't it?....Word is that he spent some time with the royal family after which the Queen Mum asked who he was - that he "was a boring little man - quite like an office clerk." I've never read any in-depth biography of Eliot, but I've always wondered about this. How did he end up as the quintessential repressed dapper little Englishman? Not that there's anything wrong with repressed dapper Englishmen, mind. And I mean psychologically--I know the bare outlines of his life (he was a bank clerk for Lloyds, IIRC).

As for you Eliot fans, me too. From The Four Quartets--Little Gidding:

At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always--
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

This is from one of his last poems, from his religious period, and therefore (perhaps) considered by some critics less great than his earlier works.

Stella*Fantasia
09-05-2001, 11:54 AM
Hmm...I'll have to re-read it. I always got the impression that April was cruel because the snow melts into those nasty slushy puddles & all the skeletal tree branches & icky things that have been hidden by the picturesque snow are laid bare. Stripping off the psychic whitewash, figuratively.

KarlGauss
09-05-2001, 12:23 PM
I didn't investigate this thread until now.

Some of you may be interested to learn that I often find myself saying (to whoever's around, or to myself):

"Here I am, an old man in a dry month,
Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain."

I just love the rhythm of these lines and, of course, I think I'm becoming 'an old man'. Well older anyway.

TheNerd
09-05-2001, 02:26 PM
Noc, you know I'm a fan of Eliot.

Waaaay back when, before the board transition, before sock puppets were against the rules, I had three (which I never posted with):

Rat's Coat, Crowskin, and Crossed Staves.

waterj2
09-05-2001, 08:43 PM
Yeah, count me in as another Eliot fan. He can be damned obtuse at times, but what he accomplished with the English language was phenomonal. It's kind of like an onion, layer upon layer.

Of course, most of it just sails over my head, but I can live with that.

Humble Servant
09-06-2001, 09:58 AM
Originally posted by KarlGauss
"Here I am, an old man in a dry month,
Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain."

I just love the rhythm of these lines and, of course, I think I'm becoming 'an old man'. Well older anyway. Yeah, me too--I agree that Eliot is great on growing old (someone else already quoted the "I shall wear my trousers rolled" lines) and on death. From Prufrock:

"And I have seen the eternal footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid."

He can be very funny about growing old, and he catches absurdity well, but he is a poet for adults, not lighthearted. I couldn't imagine reading Eliot to my kids--I wouldn't stop them from reading him themselves, but he's not a mother's milk kinda writer.

And waterj2: I really like that there are things I know I'm not getting--it will be a sad day when I can't find anything new in there. I'm gonna link to this other thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=77633#post1439614) where RTFirefly edjucated me about the "all manner of thing will be well" lines I quoted above and how Eliot swiped them from Julian of Norwich. Learning that was really neat.

KarlGauss
09-06-2001, 11:50 AM
Does everyone here know that you can download Eliot himself reading Prufrock? I believe the link I used was this one (http://www.salon.com/audio/2000/10/05/eliot/).

Humble Servant
09-06-2001, 02:50 PM
THANK YOU for posting that link, KarlGauss.