Dear Eugene,

I appreciate your careful language, but there are so many lurkers on this list, and it seems important to add some facts and evidence at times. I don't think affirming a student who does not understand their key terms or a news commentator, who seems singularly limited in poetry but nonetheless willing to pronounce absolutes, to be compassionate to anyone on the list. And I do care about the list. (I'm not sure why even, except that it seems to have many people who really do care about poetry worth reading) I'm not sure how you mean "compassionate," but I think I am, in the only way that seems meaningful to me. I think affirming whatever is said is the opposite of compassionate.

The person who should have been critiqued is the faculty member who did not help that student with terms and sources, by the way.

And I would love to hear more insights and suggestions from you: you do care about these issues and post less often than I could wish. How would you celebrate TWL, for example. I think it's brilliant, and students do also, especially when they read aloud. And Eliot is very much in the limelight at conferences, so although I agree that I don't see much current work that excites me (in the US--a lot does in the UK), I think Eliot is doing fine.

>>> "[log in to unmask]" 12/11/12 6:52 PM >>>
Tough love, Nancy. Similar to your excoriation a few weeks ago of that high school student or undergraduate who misused or misunderstood "modernist." Be compassionate. And celebrate that someone is celebrating TWL in this age of published and lauded collective mediocrity.

(And please accept this remark as another viewpoint, not something directed individually to you. I am often indebted to your insights, suggestions and observations. Thank you.)

Eugene Schlanger

Sent from my iPhone

On Dec 11, 2012, at 5:40 PM, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

TWL is much better read aloud, but one must feel rather sorry for Sally Gardner if this is "the" book of a lifetime for her. Has she ever been to great Shakespeare or heard Dante read aloud? There is no one book of a lifetime for anyone who reads.

>>> Chokh Raj 12/11/12 4:25 PM >>>

Book Of A Lifetime: The Waste Land, By TS Eliot
Sally Gardner 
The Independent, 09 December 2011 

"[Listening] to a friend's treasured recording of the reading by Ted Hughes. I sat, mesmerised, certain that there must be some terrible mistake. Surely this couldn't possibly be that poem, the one wrapped around with so much intellectual barbed wire that it had managed to frighten off many a mere mortal? What I was listening to was a simply electrifying, helter-skelter ride, second to none. Cinema for the mind, sweets for the tongue, music for the ear. A diamond that no amount of academic 'jug jug' should ever be allowed to dull."