I am repeating myself, but it is sloppy because it is just a student
paper, and not a very impressive one. None of my seniors in undergrad
would turn in a paper with the title wrong and just two sources (also
with the title misspelled) and no individually developed idea. The paper
is unresearched and naÔve, and it says nothing distinctive.

So the title is very much to some point; I do not know what point there
is about its content or "ideas," which are uninformed and not carefully
worked out, but Tom's point is the relevant one here.

Why is this stuff stuck on a website of people serious about Eliot? Why
does it fill up my email? 

And before I get sniped at as some kind of elitist, many of my students
do, in fact, come up with very fine papers with distinctive ideas. And
they do the necessary work. This is not one.

>>> Tom Colket 08/08/13 7:03 AM >>>

CR> Well, that is beside the point

(Sorry that Evans name got "autocorrected" to Evens in my post)

The point is that, by botching the title, Mr. Evans shows a sloppiness
that is abundantly evident throughout the article you called our
attention to. 

Here's what TSE has to say about the title in a postscript to a 1928
letter to a Spanish translator, Angel Flores (from "Letters, vol 4"):

To Angel Flores

22 February 1928 [London]

. . . . . . main letter . . .

Yours very truly,
[T. S. Eliot]

P.S. The title, by the way, is not 'The Wasteland' but 'The Waste Land'.
The only exact translation of the title is one which my French
translator, Jean de Menasce, discovered, although alas! too late to use
in his version - 'La Gaste Lande'. This is absolutely the exact
equivalent as it alludes to the same mediaeval fiction.

<!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]-->

Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 17:18:06 -0700
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Poem-A-Day: Experiment in Divination: Voice and Character
by Rebecca Wolff
To: [log in to unmask]

Well, that is beside the point.


From: Tom Colket 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 7:49 PM
Subject: Re: Poem-A-Day: Experiment in Divination: Voice and Character
by Rebecca Wolff

"The Wasteland"? Mr. Evens doesn't even know the damn title of the poem.

--- Original Message ---

From: "Chokh Raj" 
Sent: August 7, 2013 6:45 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Poem-A-Day: Experiment in Divination: Voice and Character
by Rebecca Wolff


The Blank Card: Meaning and Transcendence in T. S. Eliotís The Wasteland

Joshua Evans, Yale University 

an excerpt 

What is meaning and how do we find it? This question is a thematic
thread that pervades the fragmentary lines of T. S. Eliotís The
Wasteland, a diagnosis of humanity in our crumbling, modern
civilization. The poem is disjunctive in many ways: it is written in
five parts, all with diverse subjects; a multitude of voices confuses
regular distinctions of character and perspective; the poem spans the
entire range of poetic styles, from lyrical to narrative; and the
variety within each of these elements appears so chaotic and
inexplicable that we are left to assume a complete dearth of unified
themes or meaning in the poem as a whole. Nevertheless, it is precisely
through this apparent disjunction and disconnection that Eliot means to
convey his ideas on humanity and modern civilization. Through various
images and episodes, Eliot explores the different ways we seek meaning
in the world, in our lives, and in others, and how these usual ways all
ultimately fail: ironically, only through recognizing the limits on our
ability to discover meaning do we find any at all.


Depends on how one takes it, Schlanger. 

Modes of apprehension, maybe.

A raid on the inarticulate, as Eliot said. 


From: "[log in to unmask]" 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 11:58 AM
Subject: Re: Poem-A-Day: Experiment in Divination: Voice and Character
by Rebecca Wolff

That, CR, does not inure to Eliot's credit.

Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 7, 2013, at 8:44 AM, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Now wasn't Eliot's poetry the provenance of these experiments?


From: <[log in to unmask]>; 
To: <[log in to unmask]>; 
Subject: Poem-A-Day: Experiment in Divination: Voice and Character by
Rebecca Wolff 
Sent: Wed, Aug 7, 2013 10:39:30 AM 


Experiment in Divination: Voice and Character

by Rebecca Wolff

There is a curiosity that knows
I know

deathless ceiling of unknowing
I know


Who I ask
is changing

all the time

now changed.

How else is one to know

How is one to know how to proceed

the course of action

a non-reflective surface

a playing card on a wooden picnic table
a knot of knowing on a node of playing

How is one to know

How else is one to know how to proceed

How is one to make the motion against

And there's forever
and that's a mighty long time.

Copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Wolff. Used with permission of the author. 

About This Poem "This is one of a group or series of 'Experiments in
Voice and Character'; it is either the first or the last, I haven't
decided, but so far it is the only one that announces its thematic
material in its title. The divinatory practice it concerns itself with
is the reading of cards; it concerns itself with longing for an answer
when we cannot have an answer, the intense longing that provokes a
certainty that there is a way of knowing if only we had it. And then we

--Rebecca Wolff

Most Recent Book by Wolff

The King

(W. W. Norton, 2010)

August 7, 2013


Rebecca Wolff's third collection of poems is The King (W. W. Norton,
2010). Wolff is the founder and editor of the journal Fence. She lives
in Athens, New York.

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in the meadow magenta

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