Monday, December 10, 2018

Who Else Loved TS Eliot's "The Waste Land" at Age 15?

I had a perfect upbringing, reading-wise.  Besides Mom's immersing me in books from near-birth, I worked in the school libraries at Madison Jr High and Sooner High School in Bartlesville, OK.

When magazines got rotated out as too old -- I don't recall how long that took -- then the magazines were fair game.  So, of course, I glommed onto mentions of TS Eliot's "The Waste Land."

These clippings from the end of 1971 refer to a publication of Eliot's working notes and earlier versions of the poem, and Ezra Pounds's work on it.

Newsweek beat Time by about a week.

I don't recall specifically if any English teacher at Madison influenced my interest in poetry.  But by age 15, "The Waste Land" was on my hit list.

How about you?  I think it's a masterful, mosaic depiction of the fragmentation of modern civility and the empty lives of people.  People who feel empty try to fill that God-shaped hole with all kinds of things … sex or drinking (among many more) as in the poem, or … name your poison!

This Christmas, seek Him who is indeed able to give you the peace beyond understanding referenced at the end of "The Waste Land."  And to all I say, with Eliot, "Shantih.  Shantih.  Shantih."
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© by Mark Alfred