"A whole" and "a unity" may not be the same.  "A Drunk Man Looks at the
Thistle," for example, seems to be framed by a "whole" of inclusiveness,
not a unifying by exclusion.  I never feel a final sense about what
Eliot's "whole" is, but it does involve exclusions in a way MacDiarmid's
equally vast and brilliant poem does not.  I do not think there is ever
a valid claim that "poetry must. . . " because one can always find poems
that don't . . ., whatever it is.  But in the case of TWL Pound at least
thought it was a single text from beginning to end.  Eliot seemed unsure
both when he suggested including "Gerontion" and dropping "Death by
Water," and much later when he called it just "rhythmical grumbling." 
There is, for example, a single narrator of "Drunk Man" who can pretty
much be identified with MacDiarmid.  It is problematic that TWL has any
single voice.  I am not sure Diana's view of it as monologic is right
even though I once argued the same thing.  I feel sometimes that Eliot
really can't control the voices of his characters like the women in the
pub or Marie or whoever asks about "the third who walks always beside
>>> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> 08/02/07 11:27 AM >>>
At 12:23 AM 8/2/2007, Richard Seddon wrote:

>To me both Pound and Eliot seemed to be working to some sense of the
>fitting together.

  Excellent point. Whether you call it a whole or a unity, if it is one 
poem, however well executed, it is a unity. Interesting, too, that while

Pound and Eliot viewed the poem as a whole, they might not each have
it as the other did. Seems probable that they didn't.

Ken A

>They seemed to think that there was some whole into which
>a variety of very fine poetry did not fit.  Examples are "Gerotion" and
>ship board scene.  Other poetry was added, after Pounds condensation,
>Eliot seemed to feel fit in with and enhanced the rest.