T.S. Eliot

“What Becomes of Us as We Read?”: Ashbery and Ethical Criticism

January 13, 2014
Thumbnail image for “What Becomes of Us as We Read?”: Ashbery and Ethical Criticism

What are some reasons why we read poetry? Why turn to a poem over a novel, a play, a philosophical treatise?

Read the full article →

Garbage Picking in Eliot’s Waste Land, Part 2

March 26, 2012
Thumbnail image for Garbage Picking in Eliot’s Waste Land, Part 2

More, the poem’s resolution enables professors to flee its fragments without worry.

Read the full article →

Garbage Picking in Eliot’s Waste Land, Part 1

March 12, 2012
Thumbnail image for Garbage Picking in Eliot’s Waste Land, Part 1

Eliot out-dueled the English until they erected his memorial in Westminster Abbey next to the graves of Dryden, Tennyson, and Browning; men Eliot spent his life burying.

Read the full article →

Sleep to Wake and Wake to Sleep: A comparison of “Prufrock” and “Nightingale”

November 30, 2011
Thumbnail image for Sleep to Wake and Wake to Sleep: A comparison of “Prufrock” and “Nightingale”

What draws these poems together is simulation of death-states in relation to the afflatus of night and song—of rising or sinking to the occasion.

Read the full article →

The Four Functions and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

April 20, 2011
Thumbnail image for The Four Functions and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

As Kafka said: “The crows maintain that a single crow could destroy the heavens; doubtless this is so, but it proves nothing against the heavens, for the heavens signify simply: the impossibility of crows.”

Read the full article →

Thoughts on “Mock Orange” and Minimalism

July 14, 2010
Thumbnail image for Thoughts on “Mock Orange” and Minimalism

Minimalism is not about powerful messages about the nihilism or poverty of the human condition (though it’s certainly easy to think so!). Instead, minimalist art creates a framework through which you view the world. It gives you the bones of the skeleton and then you fill out the flesh. But watch out! The minimalist artist still controls the bones (and hence the body that you have put on them). Minimalism is as silent as the movie frame.

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Terrible Eyes: On a Newly Discovered Photograph of Arthur Rimbaud

Terrible Eyes: On a Newly Discovered Photograph of Arthur Rimbaud

April 18, 2010

I followed deadpan Rivers down and down,
And knew my haulers had let go the ropes.
Whooping redskins took my men as targets
And nailed them nude to technicolour posts.

Read the full article →

Blogging through Grossman, Part 3: Poetic Promiscuity.

March 2, 2010
Thumbnail image for Blogging through Grossman, Part 3: Poetic Promiscuity.

We recent poets have two great tools at our disposal: freedom of poetic license, and freedom of publishing. Generally, we can say whatever we want, and get a significant number of people to hear what we have to say. The question is whether this freedom has led to better poetry or degeneration. Perhaps that’s not the best way to put it. The question should be, even if somebody is doing something amazing and new in poetry, would we even see it? Will we travel all this way to find that we really did need the gatekeepers of poetry??

Read the full article →

Keats Revisited: “It’s Not a Well-Wrought Urn, it’s a Well of Ashes and Wine”

February 21, 2010
Thumbnail image for Keats Revisited: “It’s Not a Well-Wrought Urn, it’s a Well of Ashes and Wine”

That urn is cold. I find it strange that several poets and scholars speak of the beauty-truth equation as the last lines of the poem. That equation has called forth so much fuss – its bald assertiveness is immensely persuasive at first hearing, then almost instantly the mind rebels against the symmetry of identity.

Read the full article →

Some Books on My Mind, or {Potential} Purchases of Imperishables

February 21, 2010
Thumbnail image for Some Books on My Mind, or {Potential} Purchases of Imperishables

Hands up, anyone who has read the whole of Herodotus and the whole of Thucydides! And Saint-Simon? And Cardinal de Retz? But even the great nineteenth-century cycles of novels are more often talked about than read.

Read the full article →

The Ill-Wrought Urn? A Literary Critical Debate in Truth & Beauty, Part 1

February 13, 2010
Thumbnail image for The Ill-Wrought Urn? A Literary Critical Debate in Truth & Beauty, Part 1

Let’s begin with a recording of Ode on a Grecian Urn recited by Richard Howard, which was taken on 2/12/2010 through my iPhone. Ode on a Grecian Urn Thou still unravished bride of quietness, Thou foster child of silence and slow time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: […]

Read the full article →