Yet a third book that I haven't read where Eliot plays a part.
I found this in today's newspaper but you can read it online at
I supply some excerpts from the article below. The reviewer may be
familiar to some through his radio reports for NPR.
"The gift of the jab"
Tom Paulin's poetic pugilism
By Michael Goldfarb, December 8, 2002
Pages D1 and D5 of the Sunday edition of the Boston Globe
Here are two free-verse views on questions relating to Jewish life
from the pen of one poet. The first:
["Caught in the Crossfire"]
The poet is Tom Paulin, and his work poses a difficult question. Why
would a writer stake his reputation on excoriating T.S. Eliot for his
anti-Semitism [in "WindDog"], and at the same time risk that
reputation by writing verse that can be seen as offensive to Jews
["Caught in the Crossfire"] and is even - as the kerfuffle over
Harvard's recent invitation, cancellation, and re-invitation to him
demonstrates - regarded by some Jews as being as anti-Semitic as
anything Eliot ever wrote?
Of Eliot, he writes, "His work seems endlessly subtle and intelligent,
many of his cadences are perfect, but there is a malignity in it which
Published earlier this year, the 200-page first volume [Paulin's book
of verse, "The Invasion Handbook"] traces the sorry history of Europe
from the industrial slaughter of World War I to the Battle of Britain
in 1940. In one section, Paulin depicts Eliot viciously indulging his
anti-Semitism as Europe's Jews begin their long, terrible journey into
the mouth of hell. The poem was reviewed with puzzled respect. Frank
Kermode's summary in the London Review of Books was typical: "Having
got some way, by no means all the way, towards digesting this packed
and rather monstrous book, I can certify that it is a work of scope
and ambition, with many demonstrations of the poet's power and some
irritating features of a kind he can usually be counted on to