Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Eliot's The Waste Land: The Most Overrated Poem in the English Language

Eliot's poetry has found its place in the embalmed world of academia and with lovers of fatuously admired poetry.
T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land is the most overrated poem in the English language.

Thankfully, since most people don't give a damn about poetry, I think fewer people will be exposed to this fraud and his poem. Actually, that last sentence is sad (no, not just because of its clumsiness): As I posted earlier, Poetry is dead, and when you read poems like The Waste Land, it's kind of easy to see why Modernism became the punching bag for blaming the demise of poetry.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Poetry is dead; poems are not

Poetry is dead; poems are not.

I googled this pithy statement after having thought of it as I lay in bed one night reading. We can all agree that Poetry is dead in our era. People don't learn to recite poems nor can most adults name a living contemporary poet. I don't feel like writing much on this by now overwrought topic. It's just enough for me to concede that Poetry in our era is dead (although this is not to say it can't be revived); but poems are not.

But, I repeat, this is not to say that poems are dead. The distinction between Poetry and poems may seem silly and intentionally arcane, but it is one that holds true in my experience, and probably yours. If you can recite lyrics to a favorite song, you are proving how poems do matter; if you can recite some pithy lines from a show or movie that hold some significance and resonate in you, you are proving how poems do matter; if you can cite some lines of prose for their beauty and clarity, you are proving how poems do matter; if you can recite a poem, then obviously you are proving how poems do matter.

Poetry no longer holds a place as an accessible, open art form in our culture. But language will always be manipulated and twisted and made ugly or beautiful to express a thought, for we are humans. This is why poems are still being written today and being read by all peoples.