The use of "forgivable" in this phrase does not mean that anyone is
"forgiving" Eliot as an individual. It simply means that the fact of bad
poetry at 17 is in a general sense a forgivable event. As I noted, I can
"forgive" the very bad poetry of Keats or MacDiarmid for their first
tries. No one is being theological or judicial. It's a common
expression. One might say of a small child that a tantrum is forgivable
because of age; adults lying on their backs and screaming and kicking
are probably not forgivable. This is a pointless red herring.

But we are all in a position to evaluate any poet or poetry. One
"forgives" Pound his Facism, I presume, in order to appreciate the
poetry. This is hardly comparable. But I presume my own love of Eliot's
work always includes a similar "forgiving" of its inclusion of
misogynist images and many views I think wrong. In fact, it is no doubt
the very mixed and struggling person who was able to write like that. He
was not a saint or a god but an often very troubled human. The word--and
many English words--is used in many ways, as you know. And you know
better than to read it this way for any serious reason. In a moral
sense, I don't forgive Eliot at all or not forgive him for things I
consider wrong (I never met him and have no personal stake--nor do you I
presume): I study the work. This is about the poetry, though I have no
idea why there should need to be any explanation.

Whatever is the point of making an issue of something so clearly not an

I have written this in this way because I do not explain in the face of
mere meanness but for a genuine debate or discussion.

>>> Ken Armstrong 02/19/13 9:32 AM >>>
Rosen cites only Poems Written in Early Youth for the two stanzas quoted
with no further mention of the poem in the article. 

My initial reaction to it was that I hoped Eliot wasn't the author of
the extended poem, but really, I can't see why it's unfortunate or how
any one of us would be in a position to "forgive" him. 

Ken A

On 2/18/2013 10:56 PM, Nancy Gish wrote:

Does he have a source or citation? That's interesting; unfortunate if he
wrote all that awful stuff, but forgivable at 17.

>>> Ken Armstrong 02/18/13 8:11 PM >>>
Rosen in the Modern Language Quarterly article from 2003 quotes the
first two stanzas of the graduation poem and writes:

Neither this poem nor “Convictions,” for obvious reasons, made it into
Eliot’s official canon. These stanzas are excerpted from a much longer
piece Eliot wrote for his high school graduation (1905),....