Nancy Gish wrote:
> Dear Ken,
> I must have more stamina, given the rich vein of problems you present
> that I don't feel the need to inform you about.
Well thanks, Nancy, I concede your greater stamina, though evidenced
more by your presences than your absences.
On the anti-Eliot theme, I simply came across the book of that title by
accident. I think it was published in 2007. I don't know what's in it.
On your suggestion to be "reading more of it," i.e. current criticism, I
have tried with each new title that appears in the local university
library; I find them sometimes engaging on a point or two but more
generally wanting. Maybe it's just me, but I really want to see
criticism that appreciates TSE's poetry in depth and I simply don't see
that in any of the more or less recent titles that have been mentioned
on this list. I see lots of theses -- that thing that English
majors/grad students do so well, often smartly and sometimes
conscientiously -- and lots of politically motivated monologizing
-- but no whole cloth readings. What to me is so peculiar and
irritating about so many recent titles is that they inexplicably assume
a stance of superiority to the poet; I think that gets them off on the
wrong foot, where true to their first misstep they tend to stay.
To my knowledge, the only living writer fully to have met Eliot's poetry
where it lives is Guy Story Brown. That his "Appreciations of the Early
Masterpieces" has not found a publisher is not surprising. I am
supposing it has not found a publisher for the same reason Pat's book
did not find professional reviews. It swims against the current. Pat's
book may be dismissed with the questionable judgment that it's a morass
(how would one know if one has not read the book?). However, based on
the five of Guy's readings that I saw, when his book is published it
will stand out for both its deeply grounded scholarship and for an
intelligence as penetrating and as constructive as one could hope for.
And that, I believe, is saying a lot. If just for selfish reasons, I
hope it does find a publisher before too long, as not only will it bring
an entirely new force and meaning to Poems 1920, but I would really like
to see what he might write subsequently about The Waste Land and beyond.
I know you don't agree, but when the book is published I believe that
stance will become problematic if not obsolete. I'd just like still to
be in the neighborhood when it happens.