Wednesday, February 29

The Insidious Eliot Situation

It's that time of the year again!   I am currently sprinting out a marathon speech for a poetry unit seminar on Monday.  While flirting with the irrational but well-intentioned thought of presenting my seminar on the lovely Sarah Kay, my teacher was not convinced by my first draft.  There I was, flung back to the starting line of the race, with very little time to regain my position. 

So I stumbled about for a while with W. H. Auden.  But the potential of an untainted and unknown T. S. Eliot was so appealing that I veered from the sidelines and back into the peloton. 

I had never read any of Eliot's work before, and within the first stanza I knew I'd found the winning streak.  Here is the first stanza of Eliot's I ever read.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
T. S. Eliot (1915)

LET us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"

Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
Please think of me as I completely rustle up from scratch an A-standard seminar and entirely memorise a secen-minute speech in three days. 


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