Collected poems, 1909-1962

by T. S. Eliot

Hardcover, 1963





New York : Harcourt, 1963.


This volume contains the works Eliot personally selected to be preserved.

User reviews

LibraryThing member adammademe
I don't care what you say, he's still the best Poet in our lifetime, plagiarist or not. This dude has some seriously correct Syntactic Flavor, doggies. He could write about cellulite and raping kittens and I'd still like it.
LibraryThing member leslie.98
While I love some of the poems, others I didn't care for at all. So it is hard to rate the book as a whole... These poems were selected by Eliot himself just a few years before he died as the best of his work and it certainly contains all of his most famous work EXCEPT for the fact it doesn't even
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have one poem from "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats". With that in mind, I cannot whole-heartedly recommend it as a single sole volume of Eliot's poetry.

I am not much of a modernist, so it is perhaps not surprising that I found many of the so-called "minor poems" more enjoyable than the more serious (and to me often more obscure) verses. My favorites:

- The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
- Portrait of a Lady
- The Waste Land (reviewed separately)
- Ahe-Wednesday V (If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent)
- Five-finger Exercises (esp. I Lines to a Persian Cat)
- Landscapes (esp. V Cape Ann)
- Burnt Norton from Four Quartets
- To the Indians Who Died in Africa
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LibraryThing member Wubsy
T.S Eliot is my favorite poet of those that I have read so far. This collection has very few duds, and The Waste Land and Prufrock are amongst the best poems ever written in English. A hidden gem is Whispers of Immortality which has the fantastic lines 'the couched Brazilian Jaguar, compels the
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scampering marmoset, with subtle effluence of cat, Grishkin has a mainsonette' The man was in my opinion a genius with words.
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LibraryThing member elfortunawe
There isn't much to say about this collection, except that you should own it. T.S. Eliot is too well-known and established to need any defense or justification. All I can think of to add is that it's important to read these poems, at least the longer ones, out loud. They have rhythmic and
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liturgical qualities that can't be fully appreciated otherwise. This is especially true of "Ash Wednesday," my personal favorite.
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LibraryThing member scottjpearson
T.S. Eliot surely resides in history as one of the greatest twentieth-century poets in the English language. He spanned the American-English landscape in life as well as in literature. His poetry is replete with imagery yet relatively devoid of obvious meaning. Even a poem entitled “Ash
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Wednesday” (a seemingly religious topic) skirts on just conjuring a sense of beauty in the reader and avoiding a tone traditionally reminiscent of a church.

Of course, one poem in particular stands out as embodying this persona: “The Wasteland.” This five-part poem consists of a collection of beautiful images that require readers to slow down and to contemplate in order to read. As one of my friends once remarked, “It’s so beautiful, yet I have no clue what it means!” That’s what’s so majestic about Eliot’s poetic sense.

Generally, his verse inspires an other-worldliness and transcendence. His mastery of language was so that he evoked awe without resorting to silly tricks and without relying on prior experience. His poems draw out the universal humanity in us and lure us into psychological archetypes that define us as a species.

Perhaps future generations will see Eliot as being a part of some twentieth-century, modernist-type movement. Perhaps. But my reading of Eliot is that he is always gone out to sea (one of his favorite settings in life and in verse). He lived alone on a plane where the only humanity was inside his soul. He was the idealized solitary genius.

It’s ironic that Eliot converted to Christianity in mid-life. Though I share in confessing this creed, I lack the overwhelming sense of universal humanity that Eliot possesses. Most of expressed Christianity is peculiar to one place, one time, one denomination, one church, or one preacher. Eliot either neglected his Christianity in his writings or saw the world differently than anyone else who has taken up the English language. The way he expressed his vision of the world belongs to the ages.

That’s why its worth anyone’s time to slow down and pick their way through Eliot’s imaginary wordsmithry. From within, his poems elucidate a reality as only he saw it, alone in his expedition, metaphorically out at sea.
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LibraryThing member MistahKurtz
Brilliant still. Not a dent after a century of shining bright.
LibraryThing member deliriumslibrarian
I find that TS Eliot's books are good in relation to the number of cats that they contain.
LibraryThing member rmariem
Eliot is my sometimes-favorite poet. I return to this book often, especially for Prufrock and Ash Wednesday. Some of these poems are goofy, and some are not so good, but Eliot was a brilliant poet and this book is definitely one to keep close at hand.
LibraryThing member JVioland
Good, but not great. I don't appreciate him as much as I thought I would. Maybe public relations have elevated mediocrity to a height I cannot fathom.
LibraryThing member 391
Eliot completely captures the imagination and takes it on wonderful journeys.
LibraryThing member caerulius
This book is just a collection of Eliot's best-known poems. No analysis, no annotation... just the poems. So, if you like Eliot's poems, this is a good book.
Frankly, I love his work (in spite of the fact that in life he was a terrible racist). Prufrock, the Waste Lands... it's unbelievably moving
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and evocative.
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LibraryThing member thornton37814
Featuring selections of many of T. S. Eliot's poems, this collection demonstrates the poet's versatility in topic and style. While I prefer the poems with shorter lines, others probably enjoy the longer ones. It's a great collection for those interested in reading this celebrated 20th century
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writer's work.
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LibraryThing member jwhenderson
The collected poems of one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century includes several of the greatest poems of any age. Eliot was a distinctive modernist whose cerebral poetry was often moving as well. I return to this as it is in my personal pantheon of great literature.
LibraryThing member JNagarya
A poem by Eliot without any cats is not worth reading.


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