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The Complete Poems and Plays (1952)

af T. S. Eliot

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2,332124,796 (4.41)11
This collection contains the following: Collected Poems 1909-62 Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats Poems Written in Early Youth Murder in the Cathedral The Family Reunion The Cocktail Party The Confidential Clerk The Elder Statesman
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Probably the only poet I have read the entire collected works of. (Verse work he chose to publish in his lifetime, that is.) Having not been prolific, Eliot achieved an extraordinarily high average standard.
I do not profess to "understand" some of Eliot's more notoriously obscure poems, however, I love them for the sound they make. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
20th Century poetry at its greatest! From post-war chaos and disarray (The Waste Land), through repentance and self-analysis (Ash Wednesday) to the exquisite musicality and peaceful perfection of Four Quartets, following in the footsteps of the great master of the past (Dante Alighieri!). My "book of the soul" ( )
  Andrea1968 | Oct 17, 2018 |
“I will show you fear in a handful of dust,” T.S. Eliot proclaims in his most quotable poem The Waste Lands. Each line groans under the sheer weight of mortality, despair in the face of the inevitable. But rather than propagate that despair, Eliot’s beauty is in his ability to spawn introspection with the dark plight of the subjects in his poems, to evoke abandon as a counter the inescapable.

As a complete volume, Eliot’s most famous are collected - The Waste Lands and The Love Sond of J. Alfred Prufrock - along with some of his lesser known works. Among those lesser known are Four Quartets, free form tone poems that are equally as evocative as anything he ever wrote.

From Burnt Norton:
“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.”

A look at almost any literary journal or publication will provide evidence that Eliot was perhaps the most influential modernist poet, establishing a voice that has survived through multiple generations and still inspires replication. Few poets, or writers of any kind, can create the same sense of urgency in life with their work. Reading Eliot is like glimpsing fate in a mirror’s darkened reflection; it demands attention and quickens the heart to action.

Also collected in the volume is Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Adapted after his death into the Broadway mega-hit Cats, the original work has been all but lost in the bright lights. The fourteen short poems, each deconstructing a different feline personality, are wonders of word play. Short of some of the master fantasy writers, Eliot is unrivaled in his ability to create words and phrases to capture feeling. And the lyrical, whimsical cheekiness of the works display a far different aspect of the writer’s personality; the light to the darker work.

Though Eliot’s plays are also collected here, I read the volume for the poetry only, leaving the plays for a different time. The poetry alone is a lifetime study.

Bottom Line: A complete collection of Eliot’s poetry, the famous and not-so-famous; all provocative and surprising with each reading.

5 bones!!!!! ( )
5 stem blackdogbooks | Apr 26, 2015 |
Last part of the Hollow Men:


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

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

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
( )
  JuliaBoechat | Mar 30, 2013 |
Rated: B+
The New Lifetime Reading Plan: Number 116

I love T. S. Elliot. You have to understand British culture and London life of the 1900's to appreciate some of his works. But his words, his twist of a phrase are memorable.

I re-read this book almost 24 years after my first reading. Old the old favorites still rang true but I enjoy his plays more this time. His classic poems (Prufrock, The Wasteland, The Hollow Men) have great lines and imagery. I was drawn to "Choruses from 'The Rock'" now more than before.

Perhaps his most fun work, made famous by Andrew Lloyd Webber, are his collection of poems "Old Possum's Book fo Practical Cats" on which the musical "Cats" was based. ( )
  jmcdbooks | Jan 28, 2013 |
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Early in her novel Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor describes protagonist Hazel Motes, leader of the Church without Christ, by the silhouette he casts on the sidewalk. “Haze’s shadow,” she writes, “was now behind him and now before him.” It’s a strange way to situate a character — skulking between his shadows — but it’s not unprecedented. In The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot’s narrator refers to “Your shadow at morning striding behind you/Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you.” Coincidence? Nobody can say for certain. But in the rare case of a critic linking O’Connor and Eliot, Sally Fitzgerald (O’Connor’s close friend) wrote that “it was Eliot and his Waste Land who provided for her the first impetus to write such a book as Wise Blood.”
 
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This collection contains the following: Collected Poems 1909-62 Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats Poems Written in Early Youth Murder in the Cathedral The Family Reunion The Cocktail Party The Confidential Clerk The Elder Statesman

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