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Author: David

The strident hackers miss no chance to dramatize, hurt, fairly or unfairly, for they fear their emptiness

The strident hackers miss no chance to dramatize, hurt, fairly or unfairly, for they fear their emptiness

From A. R. Ammons “Garbage”

the hackers, having none

hack away at intensity: they want to move,

disturb, shock: they show the idleness of

pretended feeling: feeling moves by moving

into considerations of moving away: real

feeling assigns its weight gently to others,

helps them meet, deal with the harsh, brutal,

the ineluctable, eases the burdens of unclouded

facts: the strident hackers miss no chance to

dramatize, hurt, fairly or unfairly, for they

fear their emptiness: the gentlest, the most

refined language, so little engaged it is hardly

engaging, deserves to tell the deepest wishes,

roundabout fears: loud boys, the

declaimers, the deaf listen to them: to the whisperers,

even the silent, their moody abundance: the

poem that goes dumb holds tears: the line,

the fire line, where passion and control waver

for the field, that is a line so diffcult to

keep in the right degree, one side not raiding the other:

(G, 120—121)

Still a poem that must be read and reread

Still a poem that must be read and reread

The Waste LandThe Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As is true for most readers, when I first encountered The Waste Land in the 1960s, I found myself in a very foreign poetic land. I read the annotations and explications. I listened to my professors. I reread and mad innumerable margin notes. I felt the poem’s power and despair. But its meaning seemed hard to parse.

Now, decades later, rereading yet again, I know the poem and the poem knows me. We still live in The Waste Land. The loss of all mooring after WWI still remains a debris we drift with. But the poem itself seems very approachable now, its discordant ballet of voices powerful as ever, but its sense much more apparent to me.

You must read and reread this poem. My critical opinion of it had moved over time to it being overrated—but now, no. It is a seminal poem of the last century. And its relevance today is profound.

View all my reviews

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