Monday, August 30, 2004

I have a fairly vehement distaste for poetry (I just cannot relate to it) and it takes forever for me to find a poem worth more than one moment of consideration. I require quite a lot to satisfy my extremely picky taste in poetry and I found most of it in the poetry that I selected for this entry. The poet I chose to profile is T.S. Eliot, an American poet who found his fame and notoriety in England. I chose Eliot because I enjoyed his poem Preludes and its imagery that reminded me of a book I read on my flight to London this March, The Town and the City by Jack Kerouac. The transient Martin family of Kerouac’s first novel wanders around many of America’s bustling metropolises and encounters many interpersonal transactions such as seen in Sections III and IV of Preludes. In the text of both The Town and the City and Preludes, the anguish and dereliction of the human experience are evident by use of vivid images and striking yet simple language. I enjoyed the words that he employed to convey the actual and unsightly state of an urban setting rather than lilting on and on about a pastoral view of places that scarcely exist.

The actual life of T.S. Eliot is seemingly less dramatic, although quite poignant and challenging. He was born in Missouri in a standard Middle American household. What set him ahead of a completely standard life was his private Ivy League education at the finest establishments in the country. When Eliot exhausted his use for the United States, he left for England to pursue greater interests such as his writing. He assumed British citizenship after marrying Vivien, a psychotic beauty who captured his heart and mind but ultimately driving him to madness. His madness made it quite difficult for him to appreciate the fame following the success of his masterpiece, Wasteland. Rapt with anxiety, Eliot continued to write plays, poetry and essays that were published and performed during his lifetime. Toward the end of his life, he began to feel more at ease with his life and fame after the death of Vivien and his marriage to another woman. He died in 1965 under the line, "In my beginning is my end. In my end is my beginning."


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