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Heather

How should we celebrate the centenaries of great poems?

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June 1915 saw the first publication of 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'.  I only realised this because it came up on 'Pointless'.  This was T.S. Eliot's first published poem, and was incredibly influential.  Why is no one doing anything?  There should be a special illustrated edition, readings in Trafalgar Square, a TV programme - but there won't be, because it's only poetry.

 

We have 7 years before the centenary of 'The Waste Land'.  Let's plan to do something!  Any suggestions?

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Dulce et Decorum est by Wilfred Owen the only poem that I know and love of that era. 

The beauty of the internet and have now read the poem.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/173476

Enjoyed very much and a little ashamed not to have read before.I get the impression he wants female company and he's not happy.Prostitutes on the menu? "In the room the women come and go talking of...."

Also read The Waste Land which I preferred.

“And I will show you something different from either

Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you
I will show you fear in a handful of dust” “And I will show you something different from either

Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you
I will show you fear in a handful of dust” 

Awesome :)

Poetry a little like classical/baroque music and early classic literature.Sadly dying in interest?

Would love to discover T.S Eliot more and any poetry recommended.

Edited by Clavain

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Most of the poetry I remember is from English Lit at school and then I discovered Robert Frost when I moved to Canada, not everyone's cup of tea, but it spoke to me of country life and I really like it.  I've looked at some of the poems in the poetry section of BGO, some I found deeply depressing and then some which were more uplifting, so keep on doing what you're doing Heather, it's probably the only poetry I am liable to read.  I did like the poetry we learned at school and even entered a poetry competition at school lo these many years ago.  I remember a poem by one of the greats, not sure which one, and it involved planting the loved one's head in a pot of basil.  I remember telling my mother I was going to do that with her when she died so she would always be with me - isn't that a ghastly thing for a child to even think of!

 

I may have read some of T.S. Eliot's work but don't remember it.  Maybe her published poem would make a good discussion point for the BGO?  You've nudged me anyway and I'll have a looksee and get back to you.

 

Do you also have a genre of books you read Heather or are you mostly into the poetry world?

Edited by momac

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Hello Heather:  Have printed off The Love Song, first impression, quite long, I guess the women talking of Michelangelo, older version of today's young women talking and giggling maybe about 'what a hunk he is' in reference to his David?   Will read it again - Sparks Notes would be helpful probably for those writing an essay on the poem. More later!   :)

Edited by momac

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Perhaps either BBC4 or Radio 4 will do some commemoration of The Waste Land.

 

It's two decades or more since I read his earlier 'The Love Song........'  and like many other readers of the poem who can forget his-

 

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;" 

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Perhaps either BBC4 or Radio 4 will do some commemoration of The Waste Land.

 

It's two decades or more since I read his earlier 'The Love Song........'  and like many other readers of the poem who can forget his-

 

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;" 

 

Yes--we spent a lot of time discussing that line when we studied the poem in my High School English class (the class where we read The Sound and the Fury).  I was a bit surprised to find that the poem isn't well known outside of the U.S. because it is extensively studied in high school classes here in the U.S. (or it was when I was younger--it may have dropped in popularity because of Eliot's repugnant political views).  

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Perhaps either BBC4 or Radio 4 will do some commemoration of The Waste Land.

 

It's two decades or more since I read his earlier 'The Love Song........'  and like many other readers of the poem who can forget his-

 

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;" 

They have already done programmes on both poems. http://bbc.in/1BHV6IK    http://bbc.in/Pk5tub

I'm assured the BBC are currently updating to allow back catalogue material to be freely available

Come on BBC why do we pay a licence fee for the greatest broadcaster in the world?

I'm sure Heather and chuntzy the BBC will do something. 

Edited by Clavain

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Realised I was getting T.S and George mixed up when I called T.S. 'her'.

 

Binker, would be interested to know of T. S. Eliot's repugnant political views, didn't read all of Wiki but just some suggestion of anti-semitism I noticed in passing. That would be in British politics would it, as he moved to England when 27?

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Yes, Momac, that's it.  He was close to Ezra Pound, who was very anti-semitic, and I think that some of that bad smell rubbed off on Eliot.  But Eliot wasn't an innocent.

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They have already done programmes on both poems. http://bbc.in/1BHV6IK    http://bbc.in/Pk5tub

I'm assured the BBC are currently updating to allow back catalogue material to be freely available

Come on BBC why do we pay a licence fee for the greatest broadcaster in the world?

I'm sure Heather and chuntzy the BBC will do something. 

 

Regretfully those programmes no longer available on iPlayer but Melvyn Bragg's series 'In Our Time' is archived and the programme with its discussion on Eliot and 'The Waste Land' is still available -

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00hlb38

 

(Our son in Australia always catches up on this admirable series.  Good old BBC.)

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Yes--we spent a lot of time discussing that line when we studied the poem in my High School English class (the class where we read The Sound and the Fury).  I was a bit surprised to find that the poem isn't well known outside of the U.S. because it is extensively studied in high school classes here in the U.S. (or it was when I was younger--it may have dropped in popularity because of Eliot's repugnant political views).  

 

I studied ...Prufrock at school, although admittedly that was around 30 years ago and I'm sure the curriculum has been transformed out of all recognition since then. In the UK, I'd say it was probably Eliot's best known work after The Waste Land. And Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.  

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Missed Old Possum.  I'm not sure anyone studies either of those poems in high school anymore.  I will ask my kids and report back.

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Have read a lengthy line-by-line analysis of T. S. Eliot's poem The Lovesong........ by an outfit called Schmoop.  It was educational, I guess, if I wanted to make a study of this or any other poem.  For me, in reading a poem, I think it is whatever the poem says to the individual, the images or even the magic it might convey which is important, rather than delving into what was in the mind of the poet.  Sort of like modern art; what was in the mind of the artist isn't necessarily what might be conveyed to the viewer.  I understand that literature students want to get the grades to pass their subject but I wonder how much pleasure is enjoyed through in-depth analysis for the non-lit person.  So I will continue to read the poems, enjoy or not enjoy, and ponder the images in my mind, although the yellow fog rubbing and licking I found a bit creepy. :hmm:   

Edited by momac

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Wow, that started a good discussion!  For anyone who is just discovering Eliot's poems, can I further recommend 'The Four Quartets'?  In my view they are the greatest thing he ever wrote, though I love all his poetry.  "In my end is my beginning."

 

I'm so sorry I missed the programmes.  I must download the Melvyn Bragg one. 

 

How to celebrate the centenary of 'The Waste Land' - I think we should have an Eliot-lovers' group meet in London, visiting all the places mentioned in the poem, ending in a boat trip down the river with actors reading the poem as though it were a play.  Oh, and we should all come dressed as characters like the Phoenician sailor, Madam Sorastris, the woman in the pub, the woman with nerves, the Fisher King ...  What does anyone think?

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Wow, that started a good discussion!  For anyone who is just discovering Eliot's poems, can I further recommend 'The Four Quartets'?  In my view they are the greatest thing he ever wrote, though I love all his poetry.  "In my end is my beginning."

 

I'm so sorry I missed the programmes.  I must download the Melvyn Bragg one. 

 

How to celebrate the centenary of 'The Waste Land' - I think we should have an Eliot-lovers' group meet in London, visiting all the places mentioned in the poem, ending in a boat trip down the river with actors reading the poem as though it were a play.  Oh, and we should all come dressed as characters like the Phoenician sailor, Madam Sorastris, the woman in the pub, the woman with nerves, the Fisher King ...  What does anyone think?

 

Sounds marvellous Heather, a bit far for me though, let me know if you have any luck with this, sounds like a once in a lifetime kind of jaunt.  Maybe you'll have to get busy and publicise it beyond BGO. Never know whether "z" is out and "c" is in for spelling.  Publicise to me looks a bit naked???

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Re 'publicise': I think it's the usual rule that -ise is normally used in the UK and -ize in the US. I have no idea what happens in Canada.

 

Many thanks for drawing my attention to Shmoop. The analysis is obviously written for American students, but if you can get past the style the comments are very good. There's no need to bear in mind the background all the time when reading the poem, but I feel it helps to know it is there. The author isn't writing, or quoting, at random.

 

Another way I feel the centenary of 'The Waste Land' should be celebrated is by illustrating it. Can you imagine? Some brave publisher needs to employ an expert on Eliot to work out what the illustrations should show, and a brilliant illustrator to create them. Tiresias, the observer, should be somewhere in every scene. The room in 'A Game of Chess' should be shown in every detail, while the arguing couple are mere sillhouettes, and the picture of the rape of Philomel should be the focus. Picture Elizabeth and Leicester in the royal barge, rowing along the filthy industrial river of the 1920s, while the Fisher King fishes among the bones and the rats, and the dead crowds pour over London Bridge. The arid road with the hermit-thrush should link, visually, to the typist's sordid bedsit in the unreal city. As for the last section - they might need overlays! Somebody must do this. Anyone know a brave publisher?

 

Incidentally, there's an example of the usefulness of knowing the background. It isn't essential to know the story of Philomel in order to read the poem. However, if you do know (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philomela)it throws additional light on the relationship between the couple that an illustration of this story should hang in their bedroom.

 

It's wonderful to know there are other Eliot-lovers out there.

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Heather, that link was not available to me on Wiki, unless they are updating or whatever.  

 

As to 'ise' or 'ize' we use 'ize' here in Canada.  I know when I do the daily crossword it must originate in the States as many of the spellings are Americanized.  I didn't want to use the wrong one on the UK forum.

 

You seem to have a good idea of how you want the illustration to be portrayed.  Maybe you could take your ideas to an Arts Council in London if there is such an organization.

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Heather, that link was not available to me on Wiki, unless they are updating or whatever.

Momac, the link should work now. It was a tiny formatting thing.

As for -ise / -ize, I hope we are a tolerant enough bunch on BGO for it not to matter!

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There certainly is an Arts Council in London.  It would also be interesting to approach Faber & Faber, whom Eliot worked for and who still publish his poems. 

 

This very day an article has appeared in the Independent newspaper, saying that a new edition of 'The Waste Land' is to be published, because it is 50 years since Eliot died.  I bet it won't be illustrated, though.

 

Does anyone know of any other forums for discussing old poetry?  Most poetry websites don't have discussion sections.  I'd love to see if I can dig up any more support for a T.S. Eliot day in London.

 

Poetry may be a minority interest, but so is classical music - and if you've ever been to the Proms, you'll know that there are plenty of enthusiasts out there.  Unfortunately, because poetry is mostly enjoyed in private, it's much more difficult for people who like it to meet.

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