In a straight poem, it is very easy for both reader
and writer to see the writing as a personalised statement,
much less easy to see it as an expression of the sensibility
of the time, esp. when the poet uses first and second person

When the sentiments are transformed into a play, then
it is much harder to make personal attribution to the
poet of any given statement. Eliot confessed to having
created something of a self-portrait in one of the characters
in THE FAMILY REUNION. It isn't Harry, although there are
certain details which might mislead one into thinking so.

Eliot confessed to making, in THE COCKTAIL PARTY, a direct
statement against Sartre. The character who expresses that
statement is one of the least likely characters one might
think of as speaking for him.


-----Original Message-----
From: Vishvesh Obla [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, December 01, 2003 8:55 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Poets on poetry


Eliot made a point somewhere that sensibility alters
from generation to generation, but that expression is
altered only by a man of genius.  His poetry offers
such an altered expression (which was a kind of
natural idiom of the complexity of our age) that makes
it a worthwhile study.  And the artist in them is the
same being as the creator in their creative process.
In his dramas, I feel, he dissociated the creator from
the artist ("the more perfect the artist, the more
completely separate in him will be the man who suffers
and the mind which creates"); there seems not to be a
homogenized development of the human faculties, but a
conscious attempt on some preconceived factors.


--- Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Come now Nancy. Read my remark carefully.
> I said nothing about her per se. I told her
> what her dismissiveness looked like. To dismiss
> a whole body of work off hand, when the author took
> it very seriously, is not the perspicacity of
> a well trained critic. It demeans the other comments
> of intelligence which she has made. That demeaning
> thereby makes the dismissiveness look even worse.
> If that body of work deserves to be dismissed then
> reasons must be given, especially when it is the
> work of a writer such as Eliot.
> Frankly, I think she was just doing a bit of chain
> yanking
> of her own. I didn't take the remark seriously.
> How would you characterise her dismissiveness?
> Peter
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Nancy Gish [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2003 2:20 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Poets on poetry
> I frequently disagree with Jennifer, but she is
> never stupid.  Have
> you never anything better to do than characterize
> others as stupid
> and silly and ignorant and blind?  It isn't really
> as if you are posting
> thoughtful, original readings of anything.  This is
> just tiresome and,
> frankly, ignorant, and mean.
> And, by the way, it was not Eliot who made a play of
> And, although I like some of the plays, it would be
> hard to find plays
> less like ordinary speech.
> Yes, you are obviously trolling and I rose to the
> bait, but it is
> outrageous to be openly nasty to Jennifer.
> Nancy
> Date sent:              Sun, 30 Nov 2003 14:02:22
> -0800
> Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion
> forum."
> <[log in to unmask]>
> From:                   Peter Montgomery
> <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject:                Re: Poets on poetry
> To:                     [log in to unmask]
> From: Jennifer Formichelli
> After that, there are only the plays, and
> none of them (exempting Murder in the Cathedral
> perhaps, which
> was much
> earlier anyhow) is any good.
> ==========================================
> Now there's a beautiful piece of criticism in a note
> about criticism.
> So, are they not any good as literature?
> Are they not any good as drama?
> Much successful drama never makes it as
> literature. So what?
> Eliot wanted to be a dramatist. That's what he did.
> The British theatre scene seems to have been
> reasonably
> happy with what he did. In fact THE COCKTAIL PARTY
> was the first and (to my knowledge) only play to be
> a hit
> on Shaftesbury avenue and Broadway at the same time.
> Then, of course, there was the longest running
> musical
> on Broadway, CATS.
> As for the literary angle.... Time and again I see
> dis-
> cussions of the poetry on this list, that show a
> total
> ignorance of what the plays have to offer the
> discussion.
> A significant blindness.
> Read E.M. Browne to discover how insistent Eliot was
> at finding a poetry of the ordinary, everyday life,
> a kind of poetry any of us might speak. Remind you
> of Pound's insistence on natural rhythms? Or of, for
> goodness sakes, Wordsworth's desire for a selection
> of language spoken by ordinary folk.
> If you're trying to be as provocatively silly as I
> get,
> Jennifer, I would say you have a long way to go.
> Your dismissiveness just looks stupid.
> Cheers,
> Peter

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