Tag Archives: T. S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot, Hope for the Suicidal

In a guest post, novelist Lauren B. Davis draws on Eliot’s “Waste Land” and “Four Quartets” to deal with the suicides of her two brothers and find a way forward.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Third Who Walks Always Beside You

Rowan Williams has a powerful poem about the Road to Emmaus in which he tries to capture the tangible-yet-intangible quality of Jesus in our lives. He may be dialoguing with T. S. Eliot’s own use of the episode in “The Waste Land.”

Posted in Eliot (T.S.), Williams (Rowan) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Lit As a Framework for Exploring Death

Paul Kalinithi turned to existential writers as he attempted to understand the fact that he was dying. He arrived at a more spiritual understanding than he anticipated.

Posted in Beckett (Samuel), Eliot (T.S.), Greville (Baron Brook Fulke), Tolstoy (Leo) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading Lit To Find the Meaning of Life

Paul Kalinithi moves between neuroscience and literature as he tries to understand the meaning of life and death, including his own terminal disease.

Posted in Conrad (Joseph), Eliot (T.S.), Nabokov (Vladimir) | Also tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Epiphany from a Camel’s Point of View

In a very engaging poem, Scott Bates tells the story of the Epiphany from the point of view of the came of one of the Wise Men.

Posted in Bates (Scott) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I Am Lazarus Come Back from the Dead

I’ve just realized that the Lazarus mentioned in Eliot’s “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is a different once than I’ve been assuming. This makes me appreciate the poem even more.

Posted in Dostoevsky (Fyodor), Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Was T. S. Eliot a Key to Hillary’s Success?

As a college student at Wellesley in 1969, Hillary Clinton made multiple references to T. E. Eliot’s “East Coker.” Now as we watch her become the presumptive Democratic nominee, we can see how Eliot has helped her along the way.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christie as Prufrock & Other Lit Allusions

Political pundits have been turning to literature to talk about the GOP primaries. This past week saw citations of Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Lewis Carroll, and Richard Adams (“Watership Down”).

Posted in Adams (Richard), Carroll (Lewis), Eliot (T.S.), Shakespeare (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ISIS Mastermind Like Mystery Cat Macavity

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind behind the Paris attacks, is like Eliot’s “Macavity: the Mystery Cat.” He has been connected with a string of terrorist incident but is never captured.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Complex Inner Life of Teachers

Lily King’s “The English Teacher” is filled with literary lllusions, most of them thematically important.

Posted in Beowulf Poet, Eliot (T.S.), Faulkner (William), Hardy (Thomas), Homer, Joyce (James), King (Lily), Poe (Edgar Allan), Twain (Mark) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Tracking Eliot’s Spiritual Journey for Lent

My Lenten discipline is to better understand T. S. Eliot’s religious poetry.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , | 1 Comment

Learning to Love the Desert

In “Ash Wednesday,” T. S. Eliot turns the despair of “Hollow Men” on its head, seeing it not as the end of hope but as the beginning of faith.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Advent and Horror at the Void

Donald Hall’s “Advent” captures the darkness of the season, linking death with birth.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.), Hall (Donald), Whitman (Walt) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Groucho’s Night with T. S. Eliot

Groucho Marx and T. S. Eliot were both reacting to modernism, but a dinner together did not bring about mutual understanding.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Who Is the Third Always Beside You?

Eliot’s reference to the Road to Emmaus story in “The Wasteland” may be sign of hope rather than despair.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Here Is No Water but Only Rock

Dry rocks have functioned as images of spiritual desolation throughout the history of Good Friday poetry.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.), Herbert (George), Rossetti (Christina) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hope Out of a Dry Bones Wasteland

In “The Waste Land,” Eliot alludes to Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones multiple times.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , , | Leave a comment

Prufrock Illustrated?!

An illustrated “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”? What next?!

Posted in Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Rand Paul’s Misadventures with Poetry

Senator Rand Paul’s often may misapply poetry, but the poems he chooses tell us a lot about Rand Paul.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.), Garcia Marquez (Gabriel), Neruda (Pablo) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Poetic Excuses for Losing at Tennis

Between the motion and the act of my tennis game falls the shadow. Translation: too much thinking.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.), Robinson (Edward Arlington), Shakespeare (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Drought Is a Form of God’s Joy

If we look at a drought through God’s eyes, Rumi tells us, we will see green corn. The same holds for relationships.

Posted in Rumi | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Obama’s Love Affair with “Waste Land”

Obama’s youthful love letters see him moving seamlessly between great ideas and sexual desire.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , | 3 Comments

Newt Gingrich, Shades of The Wasteland

Newt Gingrich reminds me of “the young man carbuncular” in “The Wasteland,” “one of the low on whom assurance sits as a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.”

Posted in Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Time of Rare Beasts, Unique Adventures

Spirit may seem less accessible after Christmas is over, Auden tells us, but that means we should focus all the more on seeking it out.

Posted in Auden (W. H.) | Also tagged , , , | 5 Comments

The Presidential Candidates in Wonderland

Should we dismiss all the rhetoric coming from the Republican presidential candidates as the gryphon in “Alice in Wonderland” dismisses the “off with their heads” commands of the Queen of Hearts?

Posted in Carroll (Lewis), Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

At 60, a Comfortable Old Scarecrow

Having just turned 60, I’ve been thinking of Teiresias. Wise though the blind seer may be, his advice doesn’t help others that much. Aging, in other words, appears to require humility.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.), Euripides, Johnson (Samuel), Sophocles, Yeats (William Butler) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Nothing So Sensible as Sensual Inundation

Poetry, with its eye on what really matters, can help us taste food again. Mary Oliver’s “Plum Trees” reminds us to eat with full awareness.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.), Marvell (Andrew), Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

March Madness Ends with a Whimper

“This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.” Eliot’s well-known conclusion to “The Hollow Men” (read the poem here) came to mind after watching the Butler Bulldogs lose to the Connecticut Huskies 53-41.The game was so bad that it takes a masterpiece of modernist despair to do it justice.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , , | Comments closed

Epiphany from a Camel’s Point of View

Scott Bates’s version of the epiphany focuses on a camel’s point of view. This camel doesn’t end up in Bethlehem but his work is no less holy.

Posted in Bates (Scott) | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

Washing Away Michael Vick’s Sins

Spiritual Sunday In a follow-up to yesterday’s post on football quarterback Michael Vick, I want to elaborate further on Coleridge’s argument for penance. Penance is not only the right thing to do. It also can make you feel very, very good. Coleridge gives us images in Rime of the Ancient Mariner that drive this point […]

Posted in Coleridge (Samuel Taylor), Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

George Steinbrenner, Not a Hollow Man

Sports Saturday Mistah Steinbrenner—he dead. So I imagine T. S. Eliot announcing the death of the legendary Yankee owner this past week. That’s because, if one goes by Eliot’s famous 1925 poem “The Hollow Men,” one could not say that “the Boss” was “Shape without form, shade without colour,/ Paralysed force, gesture without motion.” In fact, an […]

Posted in Eliot (T.S.) | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

  • AVAILABLE NOW!

  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

  • Sign up for weekly newsletter

    Your email will not be shared or sold.
    * = required field

    powered by MailChimp!
  • Twitter Authentication data is incomplete