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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: March 2010

Poems 1909–1925 (1925)


*Edgell Rickword.

"The Modern Poet."

Calendar of Modern

Letters 2 (December

1925), 278–81.

If there were to be held a Congress of Younger Poets, and it were desired to make some kind of show of recognition to the poet who has the most effectively upheld the reality of the art in an age of preposterous poeticizing, it is impossible to think of any serious rival to the name T. S. Eliot.

[ … ]

The impression we have always had of Mr. Eliot's work, reinforced by this commodious collection in one volume, may be analyzed into two coincident but not quite simultaneous impressions. The first is the urgency of the personality, which seems sometimes oppressive, and comes near to breaking through the so finelyspun aesthetic fabric; the second is the technique which spins this fabric and to which this slender volume owes its curious ascendency over the bulky monsters of our time. For it is by his struggle with technique that Mr. Eliot has been able to get closer than any other poet to the physiology of our sensations (a poet does not speak merely for himself) to explore and make palpable the more intimate distresses of a generation for whom all the romantic escapes had been blocked. And, though this may seem a heavy burden to lay on the back of technique, we can watch with the deepening of consciousness, a much finer realization of language, reaching its height in passages in The Waste Land until it sinks under the strain and in “The Hollow Men” becomes gnomically disarticulate.

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T. S. Eliot
  • Online ISBN: 9780511485466
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