Rodney's Reviews > The Waste Land And Other Poems

The Waste Land And Other Poems by John Beer
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Jul 04, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry

The title and cover set my shields on high for another bout with conceptual irony, but Beer’s Waste Land is neither a writing through nor a winking critique of Eliot’s. Instead the gesture, in a book that foregrounds attitude and gesture over concept or procedure, blends an old-world Continental elegance with a contemporary feeling for absurdist juxtaposition, like “ a septet of cardinals/lunching at the Rainforest Café.” Feuerbach’s Das Wesen des Christenthums turns into “Christian Thumbways”; Uma Thurman and Marcel Carné meet through core branding at Lancome; philosophical theses nest in a “big bowl of pasta overturned on the floor”; and “the disgraced King of Pop” shares air with a lit Gitane.

What Beer lifts from Eliot is a reserved and slightly formal dramatic persona that hints at muffled emotional depths just under the mask, the old themes of love and death and identity costumed as color experiments or dreamy travel narratives. The result is more bemused than despairing, more cinematic than apocalyptic, but no less urgent in its push to its own Busby Berkeley shantih.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 1, 2011 – Finished Reading
July 4, 2012 – Shelved
July 4, 2012 – Shelved as: poetry

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