The Waste Land and, much later, The Cantos were my introduction to poetry
and to classical literature in general. Marcia Karp, Jewel Brooker and
yourself were my first instructors. As I progressed to The Cantos my
mentors became Hugh Witemeyer and Leon Surette.
My way of reading TWL has changed dramatically from simply trying to make
sense of the poem to today's enjoyment of the poem's words, rhythms and the
flashing images (little i) that it creates in my mind without need for
deeper understanding. Of course I am still titillated with the background
of the various scenes and what those scenes mean but today that doesn't seem
as important to this non-professional as it once did. I still read TWL
regularly and less often the others. "Cousin Nancy" to this day is my
favorite of the short works. But, I read them less as puzzles and more for
the sheer enjoyment of how TSE put the words together.
Perhaps I have learned to read and enjoy Poetry in the 10 years or so that I
have been at it. If so that is a good thing!