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Collected Poems, 1909-1962

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  15,711 ratings  ·  140 reviews
There is no more authoritative collection of the poetry that Eliot himself wished to preserve than this volume, published two years before his death in 1965.

Poet, dramatist, critic, and editor, T. S. Eliot was one of the defining figures of twentieth-century poetry. This edition of Collected Poems 1909-1962 includes his verse from Prufrock and Other Observations (1917) to
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 25th 1963 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 1963)
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The Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan PoeThe Poetry of Robert Frost by Robert FrostThe Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonThe Complete Poems by John KeatsThe Collected Poems by W.B. Yeats
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Community Reviews

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That's all the facts, when you come to brass tacks:
Birth, and copulation, and death.
I've been born and once is enough.
You don't remember, but I remember,
Once is enough.

Well here again that don't apply
But I've gotta use words when I talk to you

When you're alone like he was alone
You're either or neither
I tell you again it don't apply
Death or life or life or death
Death is life and life is death
I gotta use words when I talk to you
But if you understand or if you don't
That's nothing to me and nothing
It's weird. I'm pretty sure I dislike reading T.S. Eliot's poetry. I was trying to find some words to explain this, and here's what I came up with. They remind me of the monuments in good old Washington DC. The first time you see them, there they are, all towering stone and wrought figures, some very human, some quite abstract representational polygons, full of whatever amount of symbolic subtext. Mighty. Intimidating. White. Symmetrical. Immovable. Seemingly there from the outset of time, meani ...more
Peycho Kanev
Critics of Eliot damn his work for its difficulties - and one cannot deny that its complicated diversions into technical and structural experimentation, mythical reference and multilingual commentary do initially intimidate. The beauty of Eliot's poetry is that it grows with you. Eliot doesn't always succeed, and many of his poems seem trite and pretentious, but when he succeeds he hits dead on with poetry perfect in form, balance, and sound. There is the man here, the poet as reflected in his o ...more
While I love some of the poems, others I didn't care for at all. So it is hard to rate the book as a whole... These poems were selected by Eliot himself just a few years before he died as the best of his work and it certainly contains all of his most famous work EXCEPT for the fact it doesn't even have one poem from "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats". With that in mind, I cannot whole-heartedly recommend it as a single sole volume of Eliot's poetry.

I am not much of a modernist, so it is perh
Aug 25, 2013 April rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: avid poetry fans, everyone
A breathtakingly rich collection of classic poems, with masterpieces such as ‘The Hollow Men’ and the classical ‘Waste Land’ resounding triumphantly through the pages. Eliot’s fragmentary texts are beautiful; lush in a brilliant, burning way, with lines such as ‘Ash on an old man’s sleeve / Is all the ash the burnt roses leave’ proving his lyrical gift for making music with words. It’s as Eliot himself describes in part V of ‘Little Gidding’:
‘And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where
Georgia Bell
I appreciate T.S. Eliot as a influential and significant writer of classic literature. However, I find it difficult to understand the truest meaning of his words. Truthfully that is a fault of mine, but poetry has never been something I am drawn to. In saying that, I'm willing to look deeper into his poetry to better understand it.
James Murphy
I've spent my life reading Eliot. When I was a high school junior I had a teacher who turned me on to poetry. She showed me the truth in Sandburg, but I soon discovered Eliot on my own. A story I still love to tell is how I spent the summer of my 17th year walking around with a library copy of Eliot's poems under my arm. A cousin asked me, "You're not reading that stuff, are you?" Well, I was and still am.

My copy of Collected Poems was the second hardcover book I ever bought, after Sandburg's Co
Paul Bryant
What the hell does this mean? Anybody?


Apeneck Sweeney spreads his knees
Letting his arms hang down to laugh,
The zebra stripes along his jaw
Swelling to maculate giraffe.

The circles of the stormy moon
Slide westward toward the River Plate,
Death and the Raven drift above
And Sweeney guards the hornèd gate.

Gloomy Orion and the Dog
Are veiled; and hushed the shrunken seas;
The person in the Spanish cape
Tries to sit on Sweeney’s knees

Slips and pulls the table clot
Way too much here for a real review, but I had to write something about the volume that's been my tattered, marked-up, much-loved companion for twelve years now. I feel Eliot's ache for transcendence, his paralyzing frustration at the limitations of language to communicate the depths of our souls. And yet he did it better than anyone ever has. It's intellectual, yes, but it's from an intellectual perpetually pushing across into the visceral, never quite unifying it all fully, and knowing that th ...more
Eliot was the first poet that I was drawn to as I began my intellectual and artistic maturation. My high school English teacher showed us "The Hollow Men", and "Preludes". I fell in love with them on first reading, and there is something about Eliot's style that is so affecting; he places words in an order that, from a more objective point of view is quite odd, but create such a vivid mood or atmosphere that you can't help but be moved. This is especially true of his later work, like the infamou ...more
Jacob Aitken
Good theology can be iconic. And being iconic it is poetic. It is an icon put in words. It is like faithful hermeneutics. The Patristics were accused of Platonizing and allegorizing. Not so. Despite all their excesses, they saw (better than the academic professor today) that the Bible yearns to break through with new meaning and simple, surface level interpretations are not enough.

Not to diminish literal interpretation, but not to exalt it either.

T.S. Eliot is probably the supreme example of a
Feb 02, 2014 Carly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone in an emo-poetic mood (or lit people, but they've already read it)
Recommended to Carly by: Me.
Shelves: literature
**edited 02/02/14

In general, if there's some sort of sliding scale of poetic appreciation, I'm somewhere near -. The first forewarning of a couplet makes me cringe, and other than the subject matter, I can't really distinguish Longfellow from a limerick. One of my few--very few-- exceptions is T.S. Eliot. He embeds incredibly evocative phrases within a bewildering twisting medley of free verse. His poems use assonance and alliteration to twine disparate commonplaces with sudden poignant truths s
Don't really know--

I have a mixed feeling about Eliot's poems. I found his Prufrock impenetrable, The Wasteland annoying, frustrating, and mostly incomprehensible, Ash Wednesday somewhat interesting in parts but too heavily religious. His The Hollow Men, however, resonated with me in all its haunting and chilling overtones. Ariel Poems, Minor Poems, Unfinished Poems were all meh (and can anyone explain to me what the hell's going on in his eerily Beckett-esque Sweeney's Agonistes?!?!?). Four Qua
I rather enjoyed everything from Eliot's conversion to Anglicanism onwards - Choruses from the Rock and Four Quartets in particular.

But I found Prufrock and the Wasteland frustrating and needlessly esoteric.
Perhaps I was getting used to Eliot's style as I was reading his poems chronologically or perhaps I just didn't use enough effort; but it felt like James Joyce at his most pretentious: deliberately obscuring rather than revealing. Mr Apollinax was utter crap.

I may not agree with Christianity
Me gustó la forma de escribir similar al collage de Eliot, de cierta forma lo asocié a mi propia escritura y por eso me acerque a esta recopilación de textos. Eliot definitivamente fue un gran poeta y sus Cuatro Cuartetos son la muestra definitiva de ello, aunque en Tierra Baldía o Miércoles de Ceniza se pueden encontrar también pruebas de la lucidez de Eliot al escribir. Le puse tres por que a momentos el tono religioso que adquiere su poesía la vuelve aburrida y pierde rasgos vanguardistas com ...more
Timothy Muller
During the 20th century there was a very important man named T. S. (Thomas Sterns) Eliot. He wrote poetry (after a fashion), though he mostly worked as a banker. Today, for a variety of reasons, his verse carries little weight. He seems to the 20th century as Longfellow was to the 19th century, someone apparently suited to his own time, but destined to serve for future generations as a record of the limitations of a given era. In his spare time from the bank Eliot also wrote a great many essays ...more
T.S. Eliot is maybe the first poet I ever read who splits himself into constituent parts and then makes them morph into each other at the drop of a pin, regardless of gender, religion, class and their chronological space in time. Often it confused me, but it's still a vivid and engaging experience. Also it's odd how some of his earlier poems are alluded to (very subtly) in his later poems, if you approach his writing from a certain headspace. E.g. there are a few themes he uses in new ways time ...more
I cherish Eliot, despite and because of his oblique references and manner of writing. He pushed the envelope of modernist verse, while remaining anchored in the eloquence of poetic standards that preceded him. He presents the entire range of human emotion, but develops their presentation slowly and deliberately.

The collection begins with the famous "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and rather depressing, meandering and possibly lost journey into the past. There is a strong sense of confusion
Danny Daley
I had read all of Eliot's individual collections in their own volumes, but this book not only produces each of these collections, it also collects more than one hundred pages of additional poems; such as many minor poems, choruses, etc.

These additional poems are fantastic, absolutely worth the price of the additional book even if one owns Eliot's various collections. And of course, this book brings every poem of Eliot's together in one place. The choruses from "The Rock" are soul stirring, Ash W
N.J. Ramsden
I don't give half a crap what anyone says, Eliot was a snob and his poetry is onanistic and overhyped crud. It's exactly the kind of poetry you'd *expect* to be written by a banker. It's universally unmoving, at once bland and full of itself. And a whole bunch of it just seems unnecessary and of negligible worth.

Eliot's personal politics aside, there are many more interesting and valuable things to go read. Unless you want to somehow punish yourself for loving literature, I wouldn't waste time o
This will be an interesting book to pick up again 10 years down the road. T.S. Eliot is a very stream-of-consciousness writer. He uses broad thematic material to bind together skips and digressions of thought. His poetry is a bit like a river with several small tributaries. It is also my understanding that the Zen philosophy influenced much of his later work, and he has a tendency to adopt some of its characteristic paradoxical language. So, my sense is that these poems may mean something quite ...more
Ned Cody
I don't think I'd have liked Eliot the man, but his poems haunt me.

From the time I encountered 'Prufrock', I was hooked. The poor sad man, trying like an Irishman to make a his life bearable by joking about it, until he realizes the mermaids will never sing to him, that his shyness which he sees as cowardice has cut him off from all chance of personal fulfillment.

The god of 'Preludes'—
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing— is very different from the god of Yeats. It's
Prufrock and Other Observations 1917
--The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
--Portrait of a Lady
--Rhapsody on a Windy Night
--Morning at the Window
--The 'Boston Evening Transcript'
--Aunt Helen
--Cousin Nancy
--Mr. Apollinax
--Conversation Galante
--La Figlia Che Piange

Poems 1920
--Burbank with a Baedeker : Bleistein with a Cigar
--Sweeney Erect
--A Cooking Egg
--Le Directeur
--Mélange Adultère de Tout
--Lune de Miel
--The Hippopotamus
--Dans le Restaurant
--Whispers of Immortality
Sep 13, 2014 Kelly is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
"And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the r
There is nothing sensible I can add to all the existing reviews here, and scholarship in general, on T.S. Eliot. I think The Hollow Men, Ash-Wednesday and Four Quartets are among the best poetry in this world. They're beautifully transcedental - a sign that belief in a deity makes for some of the most beautiful works of art conceivable. I've read these poems once, twice or perhaps thrice; but their meaning is not clear to me, though their beauty is. At this point in my life, barely twenty years ...more
Eliot, like William Carlos Williams later in his life, seems to be writing one long poem, particularly from Prufrock through the Hollow Men collection. The same themes appear and similar stark images of decaying urban life and a shallow society loom over most of his works. (Especially his better ones.)

Interestingly, there are few men in his poems. It is a woman’s world he depicts most often. And the women all seem sad, chatteringly shallow and lacking a soulful depth. But the speaker is also un
Mar 23, 2012 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
I'm not going to pretend to have anything original to say about the poetry of T.S. Eliot. My personal reaction to his poetry as presented in this volume (which are poems he chose to represent his work for posterity) is that some of his work is worth close study but that none of it is very appealing.

Perhaps among the many things we can attribute to him is the advent of academic poetry that is only or primarily rewarding to people with a broad and deep education. One thing Eliot saw fit not to in
Eric Jay Sonnenschein

There are basically two kinds of poets, those who want you to understand and those who don't care. The difference between the poetry they make is simple. The accessible poet writes foremost to communicate, to put himself out there for you the reader to learn from, to like or to dislike. He has a story to tell and uses verse to tell it. Even when he employs obscure terms, they are like rare ornaments or odd accessories to a cent
Chuck Lowry
Poetry is funny stuff. Either you "get" it or you don't. And there are as many different kinds of poetry as there are of prose, and what differs in style and form can convey a simlar message, and vice versa.

T. S. Eliot has some lovely pieces that can be read on their own, with pleasure and profit, things like The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock or The Boston Evening Transcript or things like that. The key, though, is to read enough of Eliot to ascertain not only the attitude of individual pieces
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  • Selected Poems
  • The Collected Poems, Vol. 1: 1909-1939
  • Collected Poems
  • The Collected Poems
  • Complete Poems
  • The Complete Poems
  • Poems and Prose
  • Collected Poems
  • Collected Poems, 1912-1944
  • Collected Poems
  • Complete Poems, 1904-1962
  • The Collected Poems
  • Collected Poems
  • The Complete Poetry and Prose
  • Collected Poems
  • The Collected Poems
  • Collected Poems
  • Collected Poems
Thomas Stearns Eliot was a poet, dramatist and literary critic. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948 "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry." He wrote the poems The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets; the plays Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party; and the essay Tradition and the Individ ...more
More about T.S. Eliot...
The Waste Land and Other Poems The Waste Land The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Other Poems Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats Four Quartets

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“music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but
you are the music
While the music lasts.”
“You do not know how much they mean to me, my friends,
And how, how rare and strange it is, to find
In a life composed so much, so much of odds and ends,
(For indeed I do not love it ... you knew? you are not blind! How keen you are!)
To find a friend who has these qualities,
Who has, and gives
Those qualities upon which friendship lives.
How much it means that I say this to you-
Without these friendships-life, what cauchemar!”
More quotes…