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TSE  June 2011

TSE June 2011

Subject:

Re: TS Eliot vis-a-vis Naturalism

From:

Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Wed, 1 Jun 2011 19:08:35 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (155 lines)

Get hold of a copy (British edition) of a book entitled _The Common 
Muse_. It will give you a glimpse of what really _good_ dirty verse is 
like. There are several other such collections. There was one I leafed 
through about 50 years ago that had a fascinating poem about what 
happened at  a barn dance with quite a bit of grain dust on the floor. I 
think the last line is (not quite accurately remembered) "His 40 acre 
cornfield was nearly fuckit flat." Eliot simply didn't have the talent 
for good dirty verse. Those poems are plain boring.

The Common Muse has one wonderful bit I can rougjhly remember:

They're digging up Grandpa's grave to build a sewer;
He never was a quitter and he ain't no quitter now
He'll wrap up in a sheet, and he'll haunt that shithouse seat
For the desecrating of a British worker's grave.

And of course there's Robert Burns. One on the equality of royalty and 
commoner in certain contexts.

Carrol

On 5/28/2011 3:15 PM, Tom Colket wrote:
>
> CR wrote:
>
> CR>  Shocking the reader into an awareness of certain harsh
> CR>  physical/psychic realities:
> CR>  . . . And with all your presumptions of a high moral ground,
> CR>  reader, if you accuse the poet of certain obscenities/madnesses
> CR>  -- be it "The Triumph of Bullshit", "Ballade pour la grosse Lulu",
> CR>  "Fragments: There was a jolly tinker" or "Columbo and Bolo verses"
> CR>  -- he will only stand aside with an indifferent smile, or get back
> CR>  to you à la Baudelaire and quip:
> CR>  'You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!'
>
> You have some rather bizarre examples of TSE "shocking the reader into an awareness of certain harsh physical/psychic realities". The Columbo and Bolo verses were dirty jokes meant to be shared only among TSE's friends; he never intended those jokes to be published. In "Inventions of the March Hare", editor Christopher Ricks quotes Dr. Gallup on the notebook containing the Columbo/Bolo verses:
>
> "In 1922, when Eliot sold to John Quinn (for $140) a notebook containing manuscript copies of all his early poems, published and unpublished, he took the precaution of excising those leaves containing parts of the Bolo series. He seems to have given them, along with scraps of other versions (probably laid into the same notebook) to Pound". [page XVI].
>
> =========================
>
> When TSE writes that poetry "[leaves] one still with the intolerable wrestle/With words and meanings" and that the poet is concerned "only with finding the right words or, anyhow, the least wrong words", do you really think he had _this_ type of verse in mind?? --
>
> "The queen she took an oyster fork
> And pricked Columbo's navel.
> Columbo hoisted up his ass
> And shat upon the table."
>
> Come on, CR, let TSE have his "down time" and tell his dirty jokes in private to his friends, but let's not elevate this to the status of great poetry, filled with lofty goals such as "shocking the reader into an awareness of certain harsh physical/psychic realities".
>
> Actually, these verses remind me of an old joke once told to me by a woman friend:
> Question: What's the difference between men and savings bonds?
> Answer:   Savings bonds mature.
>
> - Tom -
>
>
>
>
> Date: Sat, 28 May 2011 05:18:22 -0700
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: TS Eliot vis-a-vis Naturalism
> To: [log in to unmask]
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Shocking the reader into an awareness of certain harsh physical/psychic realities:
>
> "Imaginations / Masturbations" -- "Imagination's / Defecations" -- "The withered leaves / Of our sensations"
>
>
> And when the dawn at length had realized itself
> And turned with a sense of nausea, to see what it had stirred:
> The eyes and feet of men --
> I fumbled to the window to experience the world
> And to hear my madness singing, sitting on the kerbstone
>
> This withered root of knots of hair
> Slitted below and gashed with eyes,
> This oval O cropped out with teeth:
> The sickle motion from the thighs
>
> (The lengthened shadow of a man
> Is history, said Emerson
> Who had not seen the silhouette
> Of Sweeney straddled in the sun.)
>
> And with all your presumptions of a high moral ground, reader, if you accuse the poet of certain obscenities/madnesses -- be it "The Triumph of Bullshit", "Ballade pour la grosse Lulu", "Fragments: There was a jolly tinker" or "Columbo and Bolo verses" -- he will only stand aside with an indifferent smile, or get back to you à la Baudelaire and quip:
>
> 'You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!'
>
> Cheers,
>   CR
>
> --- On Fri, 5/27/11, Chokh Raj<[log in to unmask]>  wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Do I dare
> Disturb the universe?
>
>    Mais alors, vieux lubrique, à cet âge…
> “Monsieur, le fait est dur.
>
> Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled,
> With pungent sauces, multiply variety
> In a wilderness of mirrors. What will the spider do,
> Suspend its operations, will the weevil
> Delay?
>
> But at my back from time to time I hear
> The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring
> Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring.
> O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter
> And on her daughter
> They wash their feet in soda water
>
> On the divan are piled (at night her bed)
> Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.
> I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
> Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest—
>
> Cheers,
>   CR
>
>
> --- On Fri, 5/27/11, Chokh Raj<[log in to unmask]>  wrote:
>
> TS Eliot vis-a-vis Naturalism
>
> To assert the inescapable physical reality and the seamy side of human nature -- an aspect of Naturalism -- formed the basis of Eliot's poetry.  It accounts for so much of his self-deprecating irony. It's evident in his assault on the gentility and hypocrisy of New England Puritans. I think of "The Hippopotamus", "Mr. Apollinax", the Bolo verses. It is writ large in "The Waste Land".
>
> That is not to say Eliot subscribed to Naturalism. Far from it. He found it too myopic. All the same, he was always acutely conscious of the naturalistic dimension of life. IMHO, it formed the ground&  basis of his spiritual struggle.
>
> Well, an impression based on my reading of Eliot's poetry only. I'd love to elaborate on it vis-a-vis the poetry.
>
> CR
>   		 	   		
>    

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