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TSE  January 2003

TSE January 2003

Subject:

Re: Pound and The Waste Land

From:

"Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Sat, 11 Jan 2003 15:28:40 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (74 lines)

Marcia Karp wrote:

> [I don't see in the full post what "more" is compared to]

It was a bad attempt at adding emphasis to "likely."



>     I don't follow your logic, or at least how I understand it: given
>the reasons Eliot wrote the poem, he was likely [...]  to let Pound
> ... .  That is, I don't see what your "thus" is summing up.
> How is your proposed origin of the poem related to Pound and edits?

The poem, as given to Pound, was finished in Eliot's mind.  He
exorcised his demons.  The poem that Pound helped create was could be
seen by Eliot as another poem, intended for publication.

    And then [the poet] can say to the poem: 'Go away! Find
    a place for your self in a book--and don't expect me to
    take any further interest in you.'


>     Poets are people and so subject to a complex of behaviors.  Eliot
> might have been done with the poem, as you say (if by this you mean he
> stopped working on it in any way), but all my experience with poets
> living and dead makes me less inclined to believe this than to believe
> that for the rest of his life he had moments of thinking why didn't I do
> this (or that).

I can't remember coming across anything where Eliot expressed regrets
on the wording in a poem.  I'll be happy to be corrected on this.  As
for TWL he seemed happy enough with Pound's edits (although,
understandably, critically questioning them as they were happening.)
Perhaps the closest to Eliot's having expressed regrets to the editing
was adding the line "The ivory men make company between us" in a
handwritten copy of the poem.

Here is a quote by Eliot that led me to believe that the pre-Pound
poem was the real one for Eliot and why he appeared to being mainly
carefree in its editing.

T.S. Eliot, "The Three Voices of Poetry"

    I agree with Gottfried Benn, and I would go a little further.  In a
    poem which is neither didactic nor narrative, and not animated by any
    other social purpose, the poet may be concerned solely with expressing
    in verse--using all his resources of words, with their history, their
    connotations, their music--this obscure impulse.  He does not know
    what he has to say until he has said it; and in the effort to say it
    he is not concerned, at this stage, with other people at all: only
    with finding the right words or, anyhow, the least wrong words.  He is
    not concerned whether anybody else will ever understand them if he
    does.  He is oppressed by a burden which he must bring to birth in
    order to obtain relief.  Or, to change the figure of speech, he is
    haunted by a demon, a demon against which he feels powerless, because
    in its first manifestation it has no face, no name, nothing; and the
    words, the poem he makes, are a kind of form of exorcism of this
    demon.  In other words again, he is going to all that trouble, not in
    order to communicate with anyone, but to gain relief from acute
    discomfort; and when the words are finally arranged in the right
    way--or in what he comes to accept as the best arrangement he can
    find--he may experience a moment of exhaustion, of appeasement, of
    absolution, and of something very near annihilation, which is in
    itself indescribable.  And then he can say to the poem: 'Go away! Find
    a place for your self in a book--and don't expect me to take any
    further interest in you.'


Regards,
    Rick Parker


P.S. - Back to Tim's question - How would the other poems handed to
Pound have effected the reading of TWL if they had been published?

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