Mike Callaghan wrote:
> Nancy et al
> I would be glad if you could point me towards any reference of Eliot and
> Omar Khayyam (other than James Miller). I find this most interesting
> and was not aware of the poet's influence on TSE.
Originally published in the Paris Review and now online
Perhaps I can begin at the beginning. Do you remember the circumstances
under which you began to write poetry in St. Louis when you were a boy?
I began I think about the age of fourteen, under the inspiration of
Fitzgerald's Omar Khayyam, to write a number of very gloomy and
atheistical and despairing quatrains in the same style, which
fortunately I suppressed completely—so completely that they don't exist.
I never showed them to anybody. The first poem that shows is one which
appeared first in the Smith Academy Record, and later in The Harvard
Advocate, which was written as an exercise for my English teacher and
was an imitation of Ben Jonson. He thought it very good for a boy of
fifteen or sixteen. Then I wrote a few at Harvard, just enough to
qualify for election to an editorship on The Harvard Advocate, which I
enjoyed. Then I had an outburst during my junior and senior years. I
became much more prolific, under the influence first of Baudelaire and
then of Jules Laforgue, whom I discovered I think in my junior year at
Eliot's "Harvard Advocate" poems are at