LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for TSE Archives


TSE Archives

TSE Archives


TSE@PO.MISSOURI.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

TSE Home

TSE Home

TSE  April 2006

TSE April 2006

Subject:

Re: Of 'Usk' : The pub poet's riddle!

From:

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

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Mon, 24 Apr 2006 06:30:30 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (133 lines)

From The Guardian article:

> Eliot came to enjoy alcohol after his second marriage in 1957, but was
> notorious for much of his life for his single dry sherries at literary
> gatherings. However, he always enjoyed crossword puzzles.


Now for the rest of the story (a repost from Wed, 13 Nov 2002):
===============================================================


I don't normally like sending in large excerpts from books but, after a
lot of consideration, I thought that this was too good and covered so
much in a few paragraphs that I simply had to.  It might help out someone's
research too.

The material is from pages 170-3 from:
    Poets in their Youth
    A Memoir
    Eileen Simpson (was married to John Berryman, the John mentioned below)

The speech in Stockholm that is mentioned was for Eliot's acceptance
of the Nobel Prize.

Regards,
    Rick Parker

--------------------------------------

    T. S. Eliot, although in the country at the time, was not in the
Gotham photograph, nor was he at the party.  He was in Princeton.  The
previous year, when he had been in New York, Bob Giroux, his friend
and editor, invited John to join them for tea.  On the train to the city,
John was only a little less nervous than he had been before meeting
Yeats.  But once the three of them were talking about poetry and
publishing, he was far more self-possessed than he had been in the days
when he had been "a monk of Yeatsian order" meeting the High Priest.
At Bob's apartment:
    The poet hunched, so, whom the worlds admire,
    Rising as I came in; greeted me mildly,
    Folded again, and our discourse was easy,
    While he hid in his skin taut as a wire,
    Considerate as grace, a candid pyre
    Flaring some midday shore; he took more tea,
    I lit his cigarette. . .

    John was impressed with Eliot's gravity and honesty.  About each
writer whose name came up, Eliot said neither more nor less than he
thought.  Cal's work he felt "had the real punch." While staying with
Bob, Eliot had been working on two lectures he was going to give
in Princeton.  For days before his arrival the academic community was
in a state of excitement that reached fever pitch when word went
through the campus, into the Balt, down Nassau Street, through the
students' clubs that T.S.tststststs was arriving on the 12:10.  Alexander
Hall was packed and aquiver that evening--not, however, as John said
drily, because of the speaker's subject: poetic diction.  Unlike other
famous writers from England who had come to Princeton and, patronizing
an American audience, delivered what John called "kindergarten
lectures on poetry," Eliot aimed what he had to say at the listeners
with the keenest interest and the widest knowledge of his subject.

    In November of 1948, when Eliot returned for a two-month stay
at the joint invitation of the University and the Institute, he was at
first left so much on his own, no one daring to invite him to dinner,
that he ate at the Nassau Club every evening.  It was when Richard,
who was seeing him frequently for lunch at the Institute, caught on
to this that he had proposed to Helen that they invite Eliot for dinner
and she had said, "Let him bring his own chop."  Other women didn't
feel the same way.  When word got out that one hostess had invited
the year's Nobel Prize winner for Literature, others hurriedly followed.

    Once Eliot began to be lionized John was reluctant to invite him,
and he might never have done so but for the Macdonalds' visit.
Dwight had been one of the people in the United States whom Eliot had
been most eager to meet.  He had become a fan of politics during the war
years, when he felt that its reporting on the war was uniquely free of
cant.  Bob had taken him down to the Macdonalds' apartment, where
the conversation had gone so well that Eliot was eager to continue it.
When John called to invite him for a drink, and to see the Macdonalds
again, he said he would be delighted to come.  To avoid any resemblance
to a cocktail party, we invited only one other person, Paul Goodman,
who happened to be in town for the day.

    Mr. Eliot gave the impression of being so tall he had to stoop to
get through the doorway of our apartment.  The changes in his face
brought about by age, the deep creases around his eyes, nose and
mouth, were so much in the direction of its original character that at
sixty he was recognizably the good-looking man with the slicked-down
black hair (now graying) of the early photographs.  His manner was
as formal as his dress, the conservative dress of an English banker.
Shyness had been disciplined into courtesy.  On being introduced he
made an effort not to avert his eyes, as one felt he would have done
as a young man.  Instead he faced one directly, and took a moment
longer over the exchange of greetings than was usual even with people
whose graciousness is studied.

    When John congratulated him on the prize, and added, "High time!"
Eliot said, "Rather too soon.  The Nobel is a ticket to one's own funeral.
No one has ever done anything after he got it." John protested: It was not
so.   "All of Yeats's great poetry was written after he received the award.
Can't one therefore look on the prize as a recognition of promise?"
Eliot was delighted and said, "That's how I shall try to look on it."

    With Dwight, whose manner remained unchanged no matter to whom he was
speaking, Eliot seemed at ease.  When the talk turned to poetry readings,
he said that although he was willing to lecture, he looked
upon a man's reading his own verse in public as "indecent exposure."
With no effect that we could see, he drank off five martinis.  ("Did
you count five, too?" John asked afterward.  "If I hadn't seen it, I
wouldn't have believed it.") When Paul Goodman, a premature hippie,
arrived--his hair flying in all directions, his clothes ripped and
stained, his shoes muddy--and John made the introductions, Paul leaned
toward the guest of honor and said, "I didn't get it.  What's the name?"

    "Eliot.  Tom Eliot." He seemed amused rather than offended, as he
was amused by the noisy verbal cross fire that Dwight and Paul and
John fell into whenever they were together.

    (After Eliot left, Dwight remonstrated with Paul, "Goodman, my God!
What manners! You knew damn well who he was." Paul, all innocence,
blamed his myopia.)

    Eliot excused himself for having to leave early.  His acceptance speech
was not yet finished and he was flying to Stockholm in a few days.
At the door he asked John how he had found Pound on his last visit to
St. Elizabeth's.  John, who talked with Mrs. Pound whenever she was
there about what one could do for her husband, said to Eliot,
"Won't you try to get him back to writing verse?"  Eliot shook his head.
"If one could get a word in . . . Do you?"  Rarely, John responded,
sad to think that these two old and close friends could not communicate.
Seeing his guest to the taxi, John asked, "Do you think Pound will ever
finish the Cantos?" "If he does," Eliot said enigmatically, with a farewell
wave, "he will die."

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
March 1996
February 1996
January 1996
December 1995
November 1995

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



PO.MISSOURI.EDU

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager