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The Waste Land and Other Poems

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  45,367 Ratings  ·  741 Reviews
Few readers need any introduction to the work of the most influential poet of the twentieth century. In addition to the title poem, this selecion includes "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", "Gerontion", "Ash Wednesday", and other poems from Mr. Eliot's early and middle work.

"In ten years' time," wrote Edmund Wilson in Axel0s Castle (1931), "Eliot has left upon English
Paperback, A Harvest Book HB 1, 88 pages
Published August 4th 1955 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (first published 1922)
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Jan 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, poetry
Eliot is such a pompous old fart, how could anyone not love him? When I was still in high school if you wanted to be in the group of people who had any pretensions as ‘intellectuals’ or whatever else it was we had pretensions of – Eliot was de rigueur. I know large slabs of this poem by heart and when I worked as a house painter would quote it at length at the top of my voice when I ran out of Irish songs to sing while I rolled the walls – which probably misses the point of the poem, but I love ...more
Bookdragon Sean
I consider The Hollow Men one of the greatest poems in the English language, and certainly the greatest from the 20th century.

Here’s the start of it:

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, t
Jonathan Terrington

My ode to T.S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot,
You walked among the stars
In your words,
light trails blazing.
Master of the modern,
Ruler of the poetic.
There is, and was, no poet to compare.
Your mythology and legend stand immense.

Behold the waste land of the world,
Behold the glorious prose of a world shaker.
Though some have called thee,
Mighty and dreadful plagiarist,
Such slander upholds your greatness,
The potency of your reinvention.
There is a power to you - in rewriting the eloquent

So behold T.S. Eliot.
A mast
Riku Sayuj
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Riku by: Conrad

The Unreal Wastelands & Labyrinths - What Memory Keeps and Throws Away; An Exercise in Recollection: in flashes and distortions.


You! Hypocrite lecteur! – mon semblable, - mon frère!


Chimes follow the Fire Sermon:

A rat crept softly through the vegetation;
departed. A cold blast at the back, So rudely forc'd, like Philomela.
It was Tiresias', it was he who doomed all men,
throbbing between two lives, knowing which?

Et O ces voix d'enfants, c
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Patient Trekkers of Life Mountains
Thomas Stearns Eliot. A lot is hidden between those three words. A whole world perhaps. A depth measured by many oceans, a mystery viewed from bewitching lenses, a song marrying numerous notes, a candle thriving on inexhaustible wax.

During his writing season, that spanned over three decades, T S Eliot penned many evocative and luscious poems, with his pen always leaving a signature cryptic mark over his dotted sheets. Often a source of delusion to an enthusiastic poetic heart, his labyrinthine l
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In the upcoming book The World Broke in Two by Bill Goldstein, Virginia Woolf is pleased by hearing "The Wasteland" read by Eliot. Several times she mentions that she has not read the poem but only listened to it. I did the same with the Audible edition. There is something to gain in listening.
Jason Koivu
Jan 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Hey, three stars from me for poetry is good! Why? Because I don't like the stuff. Yep, I'm a savage heathen.

I LOVED the stuff as a teen. I wrote notebooks filled with poetry (or at least something like poetry) back then. Somewhere along the line I lost my taste for it and now I can barely stand it.

Enter T.S. Eliot and his highly vaunted "The Waste Land". In some distant past, when I was in college or maybe it was even high school, I was told by teachers just how good this poem was. I don't reme
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Probably my favourite poet. Poetry at its most incredible.
اگر به خاطر نقطه ساکن نبود رقصی وجود نداشت

This is one of my favorite books of all time and to prove it, I named my dog Prufrock.

I wanted to put a picture of him here for you SO BAD that after stoically refusing for a million years, I finally opened a Flickr account so I upload my pix on GR.

So here is a shot of the time the cutest dog ever did the cutest thing ever and I actually died.

Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, nobel-winners
I think "The Waste Land" and the other poems in this collection ("Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," and "Gerontion," "Portrait of a Lady" and "Four Quartets") are brilliant. That said, I have to sort of hold T.S. Eliot responsible for everything I hate about modern poetry. Obviously T. Stearns isn't wholly to blame, and I think he has a genius of his own, but I think that his influence on many of his poetic successors has mostly led to a disgusting pretension in poetry, which superficially veils ...more
Dec 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I once won 50$ for reciting The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a coffee shop. Making this the only one of my books to pay for itself in a material way.
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Although I have read “The Waste Land” a number of times, it has been a long time since I read it last, and I have never studied it very thoroughly, having become entranced with “Four Quartets” and devoted most of my time and attention to that magnificent poem. Reading TWL again now, I am once again impressed, however, with its imagery and wealth of allusions. Some of these allusions are ones I recognize, although many I do not. Nonetheless, I am impressed with its modernist mood of enervation an ...more
João Fernandes
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel, poetry
"We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown."

I may have just found my favourite American poet, even if some of his poems are incredibly religious in nature. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is absolutely wonderful and has some of the most fluid rhyming I've ever read.
Alice Lippart
Very good, but not my favorite.
Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Never fails to give me goosebumps.
Mar 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land...
Retracing myself through the labyrinth of the Waste Land. Making an effort this time to read other sources, think about the project of making a mosaic out of a broken world.
Thank God for the Internet--really inspiring to read these dense works and then have access to such a myriad of supplemental sources. I've read this before and always got the gist and the music, but it's really spectacular t
May 20, 2014 rated it liked it
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons

I first heard of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock while listening to a podcast of Entitled Opinions (thanks Tom) last winter. That podcast concerned Dante, however I found Eliot's images both vivid and modern. I then mentally shelved such for a future read. This present week appeared apt. While sorting through Marx and, then, Derrida on Marx and Shakespeare I found the prevailing winds favorable. Diving into such, I didn't care for the titular poem
3.5 stars

I have wanted to read The Waste Land since seeing various quotes taken from it strewn throughout Stephen King's works. My favorites are

"I will show you fear in a handful of dust." and
"This is how the world ends / Not with a bang, but with a whimper."

Those quotes have always given me a little thrill when I see them mentioned in other books and novels, and they seemed to indicate to me that Eliot would be right up my alley, because it seemed that his work is dark, and a little twisted.
Pamela Shropshire
It’s very difficult to know just how to rate and review a work like this. I won’t dare to pretend I understand everything; first of all, I have read very few of the works alluded to, so I didn’t “get” much of the meaning directly from my own experience. My edition does have Eliot’s notes and additional endnotes as well, but that’s not the same as understanding all the subtle nuances that may be in those original works.

Still, I always have believed that poetry can be enjoyed on its own aesthetic
Michael Finocchiaro
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of my absolute favorite poems despite its formidable length.
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2016-reads
The first three published poetic volumes of T.S. Eliot career were a sudden surprise upon the literary community, but it was the third that became a centerpiece of modernist poetry. Published within a 5 year period during which not only Eliot’s style was refined but also influenced by his personal life and health. Throughout the rest of his career, Eliot would build upon and around these works that would eventually lead to the Noble Prize in Literature and a prominent place in today’s literature ...more
Oscar Calva
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel-author, ebooks
If you, like me, are no scholar on obscure cultural and literary references, foreign languages, deep symbolism and ideas broken in pieces all over the place, you might not find this exquisite poem collection very compelling. And if you, like me, are lazy enough not to go back and forth to the editor footnotes or to have an analysis side text, or if you think Eliot isn't lyrical enough to be fully enjoyed, just go to youtube and search for a reading on "The Waste Land" from Sir Alec Guiness to re ...more
Dec 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' is one of those pieces of art that sustains me. I literally don't know who I would be without it. I have been reading and rereading that poem since I was about 17, and each time I read it, I come to understand it a little bit differently. It is of course, about death and aging, but also about place ('The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes/ The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes/ Licked its tongue into the corners of the ev ...more
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is probably one of the more difficult reviews for me. On one hand there is no doubt that Eliot is an absolute master, but on the other I found his poetry frustratingly inaccessible and not enjoyable to read. His immense influence on modernism is clearly evident, but his use of mythology and literary references made reading his poems feel at times as if each line was disconnected from the rest. I consider myself fairly well read in classical literature, mythology etc. but I felt as if I need ...more
Aiden Heavilin
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry

In my opinion, T.S. Eliot demonstrates why the written word as an art form will never go out of style. His exploration of human consciousness, his celebration of language, his endless allusions... no other art form would serve his purpose other than poetry. Distilled in these poems is everything that makes writing great; intellectual and emotional potency, beauty in both each line and the structure itself.

And no, I don't understand "The Waste Land" but my goodness if it doesn't fire up my imagin
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Of course this is a five-star volume of some of the finest poetry ever written in the English language...okay? Please don't hurt me.

Over the past several days I have been re-reading (or slogging though) Prufrock, Gerontion, the Waste Land and the other poems in this collection. And why exactly would I do that? Why would anyone do that without a professor and a syllabus involved in the undertaking? Just think of it as a sort of self-conducted experiment involving brain research, or consider it a
Roy Lotz
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I’ll admit it. I don’t understand "The Waste Land". I read it a few times, I listened to it on audiobook, I even looked up analysis on the internet. All to no avail, I don’t get it. Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to say that I totally understand Eliot, that people just take the wrong approach, that most readers lack the wide reading necessary to catch his esoteric references. I would bring it up at parties, perhaps with a quote or two to demonstrate my deep learning and penetrating mind. I ...more
Jun 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-this
Maybe I'm too dull in the mind, especially when it comes to poetry, but I couldn't get most of Eliot's poems enough to feel... anything! I like some of his earlier poems though, those in 'Prufrock and Other Observations', especially the famous Prufrock, 'Portrait of a Lady', and 'Preludes'. The images of the streets (even full of the fog), nighttime (or just time) and post-war society are vibrant even in their pretty dark and serious themes. The rhythm in his poems speak conversationally althoug ...more
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Having read this more times than I remember, it is time to write a quick review. I started using this in the classes that I teach when, somehow or other, I noticed or heard or read about how this work is connected to The Great Gatsby (another work I "teach").

While, biographically, there may be some less than savory things to say about T.S. Eliot, and perhaps even his approach to literary criticism, neither shows up in this work.

You should read it if you haven't and read it again if you only re
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Thomas Stearns Eliot was a poet, dramatist and literary critic. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948 "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry." He wrote the poems The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets; the plays Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party; and the essay Tradition and the Individ ...more
“And indeed there will be time for the yellow smoke that slides along the street rubbing its back upon the window-panes; there will be time , there will be time to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet; there will be time to murder and create, and time for all the works and days of hands that lift and drop a question on your plate; time for you and time for me, and time yet for a hundred indecisions, and for a hundred visions and revisions, before the taking of toast and tea.” 32 likes
“Fading, fading: strength beyond hope and despair climbing the third stair. Lord, I am not worthy Lord, I am not worthy but speak the word only.” 24 likes
More quotes…