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The Waste Land and Other Poems

4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  37,051 Ratings  ·  522 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 1,679 books — 1,861 voters
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldSiddhartha by Hermann HesseSteppenwolf by Hermann HesseWinnie-the-Pooh by A.A. MilneAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Best Books of the Decade: 1920's
17th out of 383 books — 845 voters

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Community Reviews

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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 mas
Riku Sayuj
Oct 16, 2014 Riku Sayuj rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 08, 2015 Seemita rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Patient Trekkers of Life Mountains
Thomas Stearns Eliot. A lot is hidden between those three words. A whole world perhaps. A depth measured by many oceans, a mystery viewed from bewitching lenses, a song marrying numerous notes, a candle thriving on inexhaustible wax.

During his writing season, that spanned over three decades, T S Eliot penned many evocative and luscious poems, with his pen always leaving a signature cryptic mark over his dotted sheets. Often a source of delusion to an enthusiastic poetic heart, his labyrinthine l
Jan 10, 2008 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, poetry
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
Jason Koivu
Jun 13, 2016 Jason Koivu rated it liked it
Hey, three stars from me for poetry is good! Why? Because I don't like the stuff. Yep, I'm a savage heathen.

I LOVED the stuff as a teen. I wrote notebooks filled with poetry (or at least something like poetry) back then. Somewhere along the line I lost my taste for it and now I can barely stand it.

Enter T.S. Eliot and his highly vaunted "The Waste Land". In some distant past, when I was in college or maybe it was even high school, I was told by teachers just how good this poem was. I don't reme
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
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.

Dec 20, 2010 Bruce rated it it was amazing
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
Emilian Kasemi
Aug 23, 2012 Emilian Kasemi rated it it was amazing
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
João Fernandes
Aug 26, 2015 João Fernandes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, nobel
"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."

I may have just found my favourite American poet, even if some of his poems are incredibly religious in nature. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is absolutely wonderful and has some of the most fluid rhyming I've ever read.
Feb 06, 2012 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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
May 25, 2014 Jonfaith rated it liked it
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
Jun 26, 2015 ♛Tash rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Never fails to give me goosebumps.
Dec 26, 2007 Christine rated it it was amazing
'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
Oct 29, 2015 Xueting rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-this
Maybe I'm too dull in the mind, especially when it comes to poetry, but I couldn't get most of Eliot's poems enough to feel... anything! I like some of his earlier poems though, those in 'Prufrock and Other Observations', especially the famous Prufrock, 'Portrait of a Lady', and 'Preludes'. The images of the streets (even full of the fog), nighttime (or just time) and post-war society are vibrant even in their pretty dark and serious themes. The rhythm in his poems speak conversationally althoug ...more
Jul 10, 2012 Petergiaquinta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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
Alexis Hall
Lovesong, The Wasteland & Four Quartets I come back to.

Usually rather irritatedly because Eliot is annoying and pompous and self-conscious obscurantist. Also he's the High Priest of Modernism and I feel that should be Mina Loy. Just sayin'.

But, Goddammit, there's something here.

These heaps of broken images.

Stuck in my mind.

Gah. I hate being this cliche.

Mar 06, 2016 David rated it it was ok
This is probably one of the more difficult reviews for me. On one hand there is no doubt that Eliot is an absolute master, but on the other I found his poetry frustratingly inaccessible and not enjoyable to read. His immense influence on modernism is clearly evident, but his use of mythology and literary references made reading his poems feel at times as if each line was disconnected from the rest. I consider myself fairly well read in classical literature, mythology etc. but I felt as if I need ...more
Jul 24, 2015 Christopher rated it really liked it
Having read this more times than I remember, it is time to write a quick review. I started using this in the classes that I teach when, somehow or other, I noticed or heard or read about how this work is connected to The Great Gatsby (another work I "teach").

While, biographically, there may be some less than savory things to say about T.S. Eliot, and perhaps even his approach to literary criticism, neither shows up in this work.

You should read it if you haven't and read it again if you only re
J.M. Hushour
This is another one of those works where it'd pointless to add to the reams and reams of scholarship. When people base their academic careers on a single poem and get pictures of Eliot's face tattooed on their scrotums, it's time to take a critical step back.
I can say this: these aren't as good as I remember, especially 'The Wasteland'. I can appreciate it for its context, but in the grander scheme of poetry over the centuries, I'd rank it 'Middling' maybe, or even lower. Eliot has a fine sense
Apr 05, 2015 Lotz rated it really liked it
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
j. ergo
Dec 19, 2014 j. ergo rated it it was amazing
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
May 09, 2012 Krissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Nov 28, 2015 Pia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a big poetry reader, but this is one of the best books I've ever read.

It is dense and complex, but absolutely stunning. I also listened to The Wasteland" audiobook, which made the experience even better.
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
Mar 03, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
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,
Jan 01, 2012 Ellie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, literary
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
Sumit Singla
Mar 02, 2014 Sumit Singla rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, poetry
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
Dec 21, 2008 Valerie rated it it was amazing
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.
Liz BooksandStuff
May 03, 2016 Liz BooksandStuff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

Every individual that has long loved the tales of King Arthur and his knights, must explore more of the legend in this poem. Not because Arthur is a presence to be admired, but because it uses myth to enrich the experience of the other tales, by including the Holy Grail and the
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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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“I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.

Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.”
“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.” 23 likes
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