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Matthew Hollis, The Waste Land: A Biography of a Poem – review

You can read my review of this excellent book on the London Grip by clicking here.

Prufrock – metre?

I’ve been banging my head against a wall trying to get some kind of grasp on why the metre of ‘Prufrock’ works so well and just can’t do it. Perhaps if I just try to describe it in the poem’s first few lines I’ll get to some kind of conclusion.

First, what general impression does it give? Though what’s described is a mood of futility, frustration and failure of will, the opening sentence unfolds with a supple, sinewy forward momentum that can sound almost buoyant:

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like … Continue Reading

The Poems of T. S. Eliot: Volume I, Collected and Uncollected Poems, edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue

Faber & Faber (1344 pp. £40 hardback).

If I were teaching Eliot I’d see this book as an indispensable support. It will clearly be a vital quarry for lecturers and researchers for many years to come. My concern is with its interest for the general reader, however.

It isn’t for the Eliot beginner or for someone happy to enjoy the words of the poems without worrying how their resonances may have changed: its sheer weight makes it something to read alongside, rather than instead of, the kind of slender volume you can hold comfortably in an armchair. This one needs to lie … Continue Reading

Pound’s “The Garden”, Eliot’s “Preludes” – elegant superficiality and human depth

I’ve started looking at Pound again after a good many years in which I only read him occasionally and briefly. It all started with rereading Cantos II and IV in connection with some work on translations of Ovid. I found myself as gripped and excited by them as I was in my twenties. For me now, I think, going back to Pound essentially does mean going back the Cantos, and to Cathay.

It wasn’t always so; I didn’t read the Cantos till after I’d graduated and we didn’t “do” Pound at all at university. I came on him as something of … Continue Reading