Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The audience question is a little more amorphous. My impression is that most poets wouldn't deliberately think about an audience (in an ideal world) but it is always a possibility. Considering he worked as a banker and lived a pretty conventional life on the surface, I'd be surprised if he deliberated over that with great concern, but I can understand the latent inquries that lie beneath the surface.

On a somewhat tangential note, I really liked "Preludes" this time around. It seems like one of Eliot's most famous lines is from this poem: "The sight of some infinitely gentle / infinitely suffering thing." While several of his longer works tend to meander into various, sometimes unconnected thoughts -- I found this one to be cohesive and graceful. I also felt that Eliot touched well on that most loved of modern themes: isolation and self-exile (thought maybe that's not as prominent as the first theme). He has a sort of compelling rather than biting way of putting things, though far from hiding under the guise of perfection. For example, the line, "You had such a vision of the street / As the street hardly understands" seems to speak volumes on isolation itself. I see some parallels with some of the modern fiction that was produced during this era as well, so its interesting to see how writers (whether of prose or poetry) grappled with many of the same issues.

For its asthetic imagery, I also loved "La Figlia che Piange" (which we were not assigned to read) but it was fairly short and the last three lines caught my eye. It is really quite a lovely poem and one of the few where these predominant themes don't surface.

1 comment:

rodney k said...

I've always thought the Preludes were kind of special among Eliot's work, too. More wistful, bittersweet, musical--hence the title for the group I guess. Glad you responded to them.

That's interesting about the connection with fiction of the time. Who were you thinking of?