Customer Review

18 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good value collection of Eliot's poems, 12 Feb 2008
This review is from: Collected Poems 1909-62 (Paperback)
This is a well assembled full volume of the (awful) poet's published verse from the youthful beginning to the end of his career. I used to be much keener on his poems when I was twenty odd years less wise, and still discovering great poetry. I was particularly fond of the brilliant Prufrock, for its lovely rhythms and that flair for language and imagery it showed. But I always knew his more serious, more erudite, lets face it, more pretentious works would have me doubling up with a mixture of anger and frustration, in years to come. He was just so above everyone else for the very sake of being above everyone else, in my own little opinion. Even his most flowing, accessible verse such as Prufrock had beautiful rhythms that swept you along, but quite frankly were little more, really, than excercises in style.

His poems graduated into much weightier, more important works (they say), for which he developed an intensely enigmatic, over literary style, which was I believe designed for no higher purpose than to say 'I am the greatest modernist (poet) ever, no one can touch me for cryptic meanings and dense, obscure allusions!'. He seemed to aim everything so above the heads of mere ordinary folk that I began to really dislike his poems, and see him for what I believe he was - A highly pretentious, high brow, intensely literary type with a passion for being enigmatic and ethereal, who happily wrote difficult poems with hardly any real heart or soul in them for the sole purpose of making himself a literary legend.

I give two stars because it is a good value for money collection for those not left cold by the man's lofty, near inscrutable verse.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Aug 2008 23:14:03 BDT
This is actually the perfect review of Eliot's work. I applaud you.

Posted on 26 May 2010 15:22:21 BDT
Eileen Shaw says:
I heard a reading of his work (some read by the man himself, some by some female actor, and some by Ted Hughes) on R4 a day or so ago. I remember feeling the same way, very much impressed in my younger days, but hearing the poetry again, I was strangely puzzled. What had I heard in it back then? It might be something to do with Tom Eliot's reading - dreadful - wooden, portenteous, artificial; the woman actor was better, but then Ted Hughes - no, no, no. How? Why? What? I'm almost distressed.

Posted on 28 Aug 2011 00:46:39 BDT
DH Dixon says:
I prefer his early works. I always feel that the Poems 1909-1925 is the book to get.

Posted on 26 Oct 2011 15:24:35 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Oct 2011 15:25:02 BDT
Eliot's statement that '[g]enuine poetry can communicate before it is understood' ('Dante') applies to his own (including his mature) verse. I used to struggle as an undergraduate hunting for the significance of the allusions in 'The Waste Land', in particular. I don't regret having done that (it was enjoyable and informative), but now I confess that the music of Eliot's poetry (the diction and meter) moves me more than its symbolic meaning. I think that 'Four Quartets' is his masterpiece, the verse being irresistibly autumnal (think of R. Strauss' later operas!).

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Apr 2012 16:04:46 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Apr 2012 09:42:03 BDT
Taranis says:
The perfect review of Eliot's work indeed!

A splendidly insightful, perceptive and intelligent review worthy to appear in any primary school magazine.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jun 2012 13:14:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 Jun 2012 13:21:23 BDT
@Eileen Shaw: 'Almost distressed'? Why not let yourself go all the way? Targeting T S Eliot and Ted Hughes with one shot is quite audacious but, if I may, seriously lacking in humility; is it possible that the fault could lie with your instruments of critical perception? Also, did you know Eliot that you call him Tom? And doesn't 'some female actor' merit your taking the trouble to identify her if your going to post a comment here? All-in-all, worthy of Pseuds' Corner'.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jul 2014 17:46:35 BDT
PR says:
Literary poets are nearly always bad readers.
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