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Selected Poems

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  9,190 ratings  ·  244 reviews
Chosen by Eliot himself, the poems in this volume represent the poet’s most important work before Four Quartets. Included here is some of the most celebrated verse in modern literature-”The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” “Gerontion,” “The Waste Land,” “The Hollow Men,” and “Ash Wednesday”-as well as many other fine selections from Eliot’s early work.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published October 18th 1967 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 1930)
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  9,190 ratings  ·  244 reviews

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Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ebb and flow from madness to wisdom
Recommended to Dolors by: Cristina
That a poet who rejected modernity because it separated men from God wrote in a contemporary, ground-breaking style that defied classic understanding is not only ironic, but also a prodigy. Eliot’s creative output is a case of study on its own because the words that compose his verses transcend literal sense through structural frame and allocation. It’s not until one feels the irresistible pull to recite Eliot’s poems out loud that the perplexing repetition, the echo of recurrent expressions, pl ...more
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I first read Eliot in college for a survey class appropriately titled The Modern Wasteland. Even though that was nearly 15 years ago, I still remember “Prufrock” and “The Wasteland” itself. We must have also read “Ash-Wednesday,” because some of its lines were familiar to me (“Teach us to care and not to care / Teach us to sit still”). On this reading it was that and “Choruses from ‘The Rock’” that had the strongest impact. I was struck afresh by how Eliot incorporates Christian language and ima ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, wonderful poems, selected by Eliot himself. 5 stars!
May 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long"

"Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the wil
Ena Rusnjak Markovic
Best read out-loud for yourself, and remember misogyny and antisemitism does not mean poetry void of beauty and truth. The grimy beauty of Eliot's masterful versification compresses and plants dense metaphysical ideas next to one another which find their expression in a pure and controlled diction. I'm afraid I was often left writhing in some kind of paroxysm of pleasure. This is difficult poetry with an encyclopedic sprawl of references but very rewarding if you're invested. My favourites compr ...more
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
T. S. Eliot's poetry is what made me fall in love with poetry in the first place. It is out of this world - I don't know how I could articulate a review about something so close to my heart. I'll tell you a story, instead.

When I picked out this book out of my parents' shelves, I could speak and roughly understand English, but my vocabulary was nowhere near developed enough to understand all of the words in the poetry. I still felt compelled to read the poems - the sounds made sense, in a way. I
I’ll admit that I found this a challenging read - I’m a good 25 years out of practice in critical poetry reading. To be honest, I’ll probably give this a higher rating after further reading and mulling over the contents. I found that I experienced brief periods of illumination, when I felt I was getting to grips with the material - for example the echoes of the modern digital age in the “Choruses from the Rock” - but then found myself plunged back into the mire of confusion. Throughout, I had th ...more
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Dear T. S. Eliot,
I had never read your poetry before. But from the first stanza of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" you captivated me and I was spellbound by your words.
I find now you hold a place in my heart as one of my favourite poets.
I only regret that this selection of your poems is so short, being less than 100 pages. Also, I did not understand the poems in French very well. Translations would have been appreciated since my personal translations were rather shoddy, not to mention chop
S. Iv.
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
"Do I dare
Disturb the universe?"

Reading his poetry is such a unique experiance, it is like I know what the next line is going to be before reading it. The ideas and images follow one another so effortlessly, it is so immensely captivating, touching and inspiring.
I had a small piece of paper next to me while reading it, which is now covered in quotes.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, poetry
I have came across T.S Eliot's work before, in the format of the poem "The Wasteland" I rather enjoyed this, and I have always been eager ever since to read more of his works.

I love the sheer complexity of Eliot's poetry, and the level of thought and construction that has gone into the writing, is simply amazing. I liked this collection, but I didn't love it. There were a few poems that particularly stood out for me, and there were some I didn't care for in the least.
There were some poems that
Dec 26, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you're googling the authors name and "anti-semitism" after a couple of pages you're probably not in for a good time.

That just pretty much coloured the rest of my reading this book so it's a hard no really.
I haven't read poetry in a long time, and I'm happy I started my journey through it again with T. S. Eliot. One of my favourite lines of my life is from one of his poems: "I will show you fear in a handful of dust". "Portrait of a Lady" has been very close to my heart for some years now. I enjoy his writings a lot because I can always sense loss and doom on the other side of their meaning, just as well as I can see some rays of hope. He is not one of the greats for nothing... ...more
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-best
Understanding can come with growth and/or maturity, but how do we know when our dislike of something comes from lack of understanding rather than a simple matter of taste? Eliot lays himself bare, his insecurities and lowest parts offered. He is his audience, he is his reader--the root of the truth in his words. Genius and honesty combined is daunting, but there is beauty to carry you through.
Jun 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats' feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar
    Shape without form, shade without colour,
    Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
    Those who have crossed
    With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
    Remember us-if at all-not as lost
    Violent souls, but only
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Poetry by one of the premier poets of the 20th century. An immersive experience reading them all in one day.
Unfortunately I cannot understand T. S. Eliot’s writing. Just spent this book and Four Quartets going “...huh?”. Loved the paperback binding though, it’s from the 60’s and it’s very fun!!
Erica Zahn
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprise, surprise, Mr. Eliot has a way with words.

Somehow I had managed not to read any Eliot until now, but he is obviously pretty great. He clearly has a lot of value in an objective sense as a modern classic poet (and is hardly unrecognised in this regard) but I would definitely have to read more to see if he is ‘my’ sort of poet, though I think I have engaged pretty well with what I found here and would definitely still like to read his poetry in full as well as exploring his other contribu
Feb 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Mixed bag. Eliot at his best is very good indeed, and he is capable of a dry, satiric humour. On the other hand, there's a studied despair about a lot of these poems that seems superficial or a conscious pose rather than an unfiltered expression of honesty. These are very much head poems, not heart poems, which at their best makes them great, but it makes some of them, notably the later, more overtly Catholic ones, read more like disquisitions than poetry. And the occasional burst of anti-Semiti ...more
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this a couple times before. The religious poems are shit. The rest are pretty good.
Eve Kay
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My life is light, waiting for the death wind,
Like a feather on the back of my hand.
Dust in sunlight and memory in corners
Wait for the wind that chills towards the dead land.

These selected poems were excellent. Such skill but also a lot of profoundness. Also very insightful, I could relate and found myself in many of these.

In addition to my old favourites - The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Wasteland - I found many many others such as Ash-Wednesday and Ariel Poems. Also, reading aloud Chor
Matthew Mousseau
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This selection contains poems from Prufrock and Other Observations , Poems 1920, and Ariel Poems ; choruses from his play "The Rock"; and the full texts of The Waste Land , The Hollow Men , and Ash Wednesday ,

From Prufrock and Other Observations ...

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry-authors
I reread another book from my college days.

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.
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
absolutely LOVE ts eliot’s poetry and i treated myself to this little number to fuel my obsession
Steven Godin
Dec 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-britain, poetry

The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
O perpetual revolution of configured stars,
O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying!
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion,, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance
Henry Phillips
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Beautiful at points, too preach-y at others.
Iona  Stewart
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I imagine practically everyone literate knows or knows of T.S. Eliot and his erudite poems.

He has a distinctive style, and there is a distinctive rhythm to his poems, so one always recognizes his authorship.

I like his quotes in various languages, which I mostly understand, except the ones in Greek.

I can’t say I understand what the poems mean, however; in fact, I would have appreciated the inclusion of an explanation/interpretation of them – absolutely.

I remember studying Murder in the Cathedral
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, literature
**edited 01/29/14

In general, my reading tastes are pulp-press-simple. I can neither appreciate, nor enjoy, nor, I admit, even understand, poetry. But Eliot is different, and I don't know why. I have very little understanding of what is going on in the poems themselves, but the lines that are so seeped in meaning and imagery and are so tangible that I can taste them as I read.

I remember having to analyse the first part of "The Waste Land" in high school, and, for once, hating the ponderous appli
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013

I've been thoroughly reading my copy of T.S Eliot's Selected Poems in the past day or two, and I must say I really do love his writing. I confess; for the most part his referencing is so obscure that 90% goes right over my head, but as I'm going to be actually studying the poems in detail and university, I've been doing some research as I go along (hence making me understand them and appreciate them a lot more).

His poems are, in essence, right up my street: often dark and melancholy; reminiscent
Jul 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: utopia
The poems in this collection are arranged in a sort of progression of quality (in my mind). Prufrock is good, The Waste Land is insight, Ash Wednesday is beauty and The Rock is prophesy. I never knew I liked Mr. Eliot so much.
TS Eliot is one of my favorite poets. I love his earlier works. The Collection itself was great, including some of his greatest known poems. But I really don't like his later works and Ash Wednesday and work that follows it is like a turning point for me. I wish this collection included less of his later works and more of his earlier works.

It was just a dread to get through second half of this collection.
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T.S. Eliot International Summer School, 10-17 July 2010, London 1 3 May 26, 2010 04:39AM  

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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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“Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky”
“Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where St Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stock of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him crying: 'Stetson!
You, who were with me in the ships at Mylae!
That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,
Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!
You! hypocrite lecteur!-mon semblable,-mon frere!”
More quotes…