Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Thomas Sterns Eliot is perhaps the most influencial American/English poets.  No survey class in poetry would be complete without Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915) and The Wasteland (1922).  I wonder if Eliot could ever image the millions of dollars made off of the play based on his book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1930).  I did read this before I saw an off-Broadway production of CATS (Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1981). 

The following link is a recording of Eliot reading the first of five parts of Wasteland:  T.S. Eliot reads The Wasteland.  I've included the first stanza of the poem.


APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering5
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,10
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,15
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

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