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The Waste Land and Other Poems

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  32,708 ratings  ·  418 reviews
Few readers need any introduction to the work of the most influential poet of the twentieth century. In addition to the title poem, this selecion includes "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", "Gerontion", "Ash Wednesday", and other poems from Mr. Eliot's early and middle work.

"In ten years' time," wrote Edmund Wilson in Axel0s Castle (1931), "Eliot has left upon English
Paperback, 88 pages
Published August 4th 1955 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (first published 1922)
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The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
Best Poetry Books
4th out of 1,460 books — 1,586 voters
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Best Books of the Decade: 1920's
14th out of 304 books — 540 voters

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My ode to T.S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot,
You walked among the stars
In your words,
light trails blazing.
Master of the modern,
Ruler of the poetic.
There is, and was, no poet to compare.
Your mythology and legend stand immense.

Behold the waste land of the world,
Behold the glorious prose of a world shaker.
Though some have called thee,
Mighty and dreadful plagiarist,
Such slander upholds your greatness,
The potency of your reinvention.
There is a power to you - in rewriting the eloquent

So behold T.S. Eliot.
A mast
Riku Sayuj
Oct 16, 2014 Riku Sayuj rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Riku by: Conrad

The Unreal Wastelands & Labyrinths - What Memory Keeps and Throws Away; An Exercise in Recollection: in flashes and distortions.


You! Hypocrite lecteur! – mon semblable, - mon frère!


Chimes follow the Fire Sermon:

A rat crept softly through the vegetation;
departed. A cold blast at the back, So rudely forc'd, like Philomela.
It was Tiresias', it was he who doomed all men,
throbbing between two lives, knowing which?

Et O ces voix d'enfants, c
Eliot is such a pompous old fart, how could anyone not love him? When I was still in high school if you wanted to be in the group of people who had any pretensions as ‘intellectuals’ or whatever else it was we had pretensions of – Eliot was de rigueur. I know large slabs of this poem by heart and when I worked as a house painter would quote it at length at the top of my voice when I ran out of Irish songs to sing while I rolled the walls – which probably misses the point of the poem, but I love ...more
I think "The Waste Land" and the other poems in this collection ("Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," and "Gerontion," "Portrait of a Lady" and "Four Quartets") are brilliant. That said, I have to sort of hold T.S. Eliot responsible for everything I hate about modern poetry. Obviously T. Stearns isn't wholly to blame, and I think he has a genius of his own, but I think that his influence on many of his poetic successors has mostly led to a disgusting pretension in poetry, which superficially veils ...more
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons

I first heard of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock while listening to a podcast of Entitled Opinions (thanks Tom) last winter. That podcast concerned Dante, however I found Eliot's images both vivid and modern. I then mentally shelved such for a future read. This present week appeared apt. While sorting through Marx and, then, Derrida on Marx and Shakespeare I found the prevailing winds favorable. Diving into such, I didn't care for the titular poem
Emilian Kasemi
After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and palace and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience

Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and dr
This is one of my favorite books of all time and to prove it, I named my dog Prufrock.

I wanted to put a picture of him here for you SO BAD that after stoically refusing for a million years, I finally opened a Flickr account so I upload my pix on GR.

So here is a shot of the time the cutest dog ever did the cutest thing ever and I actually died.

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land...
Retracing myself through the labyrinth of the Waste Land. Making an effort this time to read other sources, think about the project of making a mosaic out of a broken world.
Thank God for the Internet--really inspiring to read these dense works and then have access to such a myriad of supplemental sources. I've read this before and always got the gist and the music, but it's really spectacular t
Although I have read “The Waste Land” a number of times, it has been a long time since I read it last, and I have never studied it very thoroughly, having become entranced with “Four Quartets” and devoted most of my time and attention to that magnificent poem. Reading TWL again now, I am once again impressed, however, with its imagery and wealth of allusions. Some of these allusions are ones I recognize, although many I do not. Nonetheless, I am impressed with its modernist mood of enervation an ...more
'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' is one of those pieces of art that sustains me. I literally don't know who I would be without it. I have been reading and rereading that poem since I was about 17, and each time I read it, I come to understand it a little bit differently. It is of course, about death and aging, but also about place ('The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes/ The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes/ Licked its tongue into the corners of the ev ...more
j. ergo
mark another one in the column of books i read waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too early to understand, enjoy, or even consciously remember i'd read it for some time after, b/c i lacked even the most rudimentary mental capacity to do so, that upon reading again, many, many yrs later, came to realize i've been plagerizing its contents, ideas, & staight-up passages in almost everything i've written since not too long after i finished not understanding, enjoying, or even consciously remembering i'd read it; ...more
Although I wouldn't usually recommend spending three months of your life focused on one poem, the three months of my college education where I did so with the Wasteland weren't for naught. I still love opening up this poem and choosing a passage and remembering how it felt to untangle one line from another, flipping back and forth between sections to see where those lines tied to others, and just marveling at the sheer manic genius of Eliot.

I mean, you could also go on vacation to France for thr
Of course this is a five-star volume of some of the finest poetry ever written in the English language...okay? Please don't hurt me.

Over the past several days I have been re-reading (or slogging though) Prufrock, Gerontion, the Waste Land and the other poems in this collection. And why exactly would I do that? Why would anyone do that without a professor and a syllabus involved in the undertaking? Just think of it as a sort of self-conducted experiment involving brain research, or consider it a
I’ll admit it. I don’t understand "The Waste Land". I read it a few times, I listened to it on audiobook, I even looked up analysis on the internet. All to no avail, I don’t get it. Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to say that I totally understand Eliot, that people just take the wrong approach, that most readers lack the wide reading necessary to catch his esoteric references. I would bring it up at parties, perhaps with a quote or two to demonstrate my deep learning and penetrating mind. I ...more
I have read T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land many times over the years. I've been reading it again over the holidays. Today, I read the annotated version, carefully reviewing the notes & notes on the notes (thanks to google) as well as listening to recordings on YouTube-including a wonderful version with female and male voices (Eliot himself along with Ted Hughes). After all that, I took a break (read something different). Then, I sat back and forgot everything I knew, put aside everything I thou ...more
Lisa M.
I stood in the bookstore wondering which edition of this book I should buy - this, the cheaper one made to profit a chain book store, and loaded with extra material (hey, when you're trying to read 52 books in 52 weeks, all extra pages count,) or, the more expensive one, put out by a small press, with no extra materials.

I am glad I purchased this one (despite it's support of a major press, and major bookstore.) Randy Malamud is clearly very knowledgeable about T.S. Eliot. I didn't know much abou
Sumit Singla
I decided to read this today, after seeing numerous references to The Waste Land in the The Waste Landsthird book of Stephen King's Dark Tower series.

I think we are in rats’ alley
Where the dead men lost their bones.

Incredibly visual, and the poems painted vivid pictures inside my mind. It is much easier to appreciate Eliot now, after having read Stephen King. But, I wish it had been the other way round, and I'd have seen more clearly where King drew his inspiration from.

Nevertheless, I'm surely
I once won 50$ for reciting The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a coffee shop. Making this the only one of my books to pay for itself in a material way.
There is power in these poems. Religion, death, war, humor, family love. Eliot is one those authors that is taught in both American and English literature courses. I always see him as British.

“In the room, the women come and go/Talking of Michelangelo”

Eliot’s lines from Prufrock remind me of how we view Eliot’s two greatest poems as well as the poems in this volume. “The Wasteland” and “The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock” let the reader into themselves, yet the reader is not let in. Every ti
Right, so upon first reading the poem, I have to admit that I was very much not a fan. I still have my reservations about Eliot (and whether or not the whole poem was just snobbish pretentiousness), but I am easily swayed, and we had a brilliant lecturer for the poem. He was a tall stick of a Scotsman, but had the most amazing voice. It was like listening to the smell of porridge--all warm, soft, and hearty. He clearly was passionate about the poem, and his readings of passages really opened it ...more
Ruth Bonetti
One can never reread this too often, it is so rich, so deep and the rhythm rolls. What brilliant imagery!
Kristin E.
"We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown."

Eliot's writing to me is nectar; of the particularly sugary sort that you get intoxicated by and find yourself hungering for in the daftness of drowsy but content afternoons. Ash-Wednesday, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and The Waste Land are all indubitably favorites of mine.
After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now
History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
Guides us by vanities. Think now
She gives when our attention is distracted
And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions
That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late
What’s not believed in, or if still believed,
In memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon
Into weak hands, what’s thought can be dispensed with
Till the re
من عادة الشعر أنه يحوي جمالاً روحياً يتفوق على الجمال المادي لذا نلجأ للشعر لنخلص أرواحنا المرهقة أو لنهبَ أنفسنا عزلة روحية ولكن قصائد ت. س إليوت مختلفة ولا أعرف كيف أصف ذلك ولكنها قصائد مقفرة تصور حقيقة هذا العالم المادي والممل والذي سُلبت منه الروحانية.
قبل خمسة أعوام قرأت قصيدة الأرض اليباب وبكيت، لقد شعرتُ أن إليوت استطاع أن يمسني، أن يحرك هذه الأرض الموات داخلي فلقد شعرت بقسوة وبألم حقيقي من هذا الانصدام بين الأرض اليباب في القصيدة والأرض اليباب في هذا العالم حولي والذي هو انعكاس أولي للعال
Bob Nichols
Though confused but intrigued by the “cruelest” reference, I liked the images of the first four lines from The Waste Land:

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Then I lost the trail, if I was even on one. It was the same with the other poems from this collection, though I sensed potential with “Two Choruses from ‘The Rock.’” These poems are probably a literary feast for those who want to spend time on them.
I will freely admit that I admire Eliot's work more than I enjoy it, but I enjoy his poetry more than I enjoy his plays, and I enjoy (if enjoy can be said to be the right word) The Waste Land more than most other poetry, so it alone boosts the rating. Though that said, the supplementary materials in the book also give it a boost; I often don't read supplementary materials, preferring to get to the meat of it, but these were insightful and illuminating and I particularly appreciate the contempora ...more
My lukewarm love affair with Eliot started in high school when I came across an excerpt from "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" in high school. My first--and continuing--thought was, "This guy is so crazy he's awesome." Reading "The Waste Land" and the other nine poems collected here hasn't changed that thought. I will have to come out and say, though, that "The Waste Land" and "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" aren't my favorites. Perhaps this disbars me from English major status, but th ...more
Lettie Prell
To read The Waste Land is to become comfortable with death. I read it every year, yes, usually in April. I love the language, the shifting voices from the near-comic, to mysterious, to threatening, to grand. Years ago I brought the poem to a table of friends. I read just the last section, What the Thunder Said, but I explained it before I read it. I described it as the death throes of the poem, and at the end there would be brief bursts from works throughout the ages -- sampling in the parlance ...more
The Wasteland is a constant companion of mine.

Sometimes, when I'm writing, I lose the story I'm trying to tell. The words stop. I look around to find that I'm no longer on the path I thought I was. Sometimes I'm on no path at all. I have to backtrack. I have to find a thread - even if it's connected to nothing else - and follow it back to a place that makes sense. From there, start the journey again.

One of the places that these threads consistently lead back to is Eliot's The Wasteland. I loved
Well, I may pick this bad boy up again sometime in the future because I'm still verryyyy confused at some parts. However, the parts that I did understand (with the aid of my wonderful professor, of course) I felt very moved and connected to.

We really only read "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and TWL because they were our primary focus in the particular class I'm taking, so my review will focus on those two poems as well.

The Waste Land:
Eliot projects the lives of many different individuals,
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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
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The Waste Land Collected Poems, 1909-1962 The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Other Poems Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats Four Quartets

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“Fading, fading: strength beyond hope and despair climbing the third stair. Lord, I am not worthy Lord, I am not worthy but speak the word only.” 20 likes
“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 toast and tea.” 18 likes
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