Thursday, February 6, 2014

Confused

I'll just come out and say it... I'm not much of a fan of T.S. Elliot and Wallace Stevens. I'm also not that obsessed with the Romantics and "Daffodils." But at least "Daffodils" is a little more straight forward than "The Wasteland" and "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." The titles sound really interesting, but I'm going insane because I still have no idea what either of them mean.... I just wish Elliot could be a little less vague. I guess I'm looking too hard for a meaning that isn't there.... If anyone wants to share some insight please go ahead. I'd love to understand these poems a little more.

6 comments:

Miranda Martinez said...

I've never been a big poetry reader, but I've always enjoyed analyzing them. In "The Wasteland," the only thing I can gather is that T.S. Eliot seems to project an aura of pretentiousness almost to the point of elitism. It's interesting that he uses countless allusions to formulate his poem, yet it also seems condescending due to the fact that NO ONE KNOWS WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT. Perhaps during this time people were more knowledgable about literature, but that certainly cannot be said for today's world. So why use a bunch of famous allusions to paint a picture of a bleak, empty, barren wasteland? Is it to shift the focus from personal emotions towards societal emotions? Perhaps his poem seems so fragmented to us because society itself is also fragmented. I think it will be interesting to see what we uncover once we fully examine Eliot's poem.

Kincy GIbson said...

I know lately that I have been a Debbie Downer with the material we have been reading. I enjoy the discussions but not reading the Wasteland. I figured out that I do not like reading the poem, precisely because I cannot understand it. I am the person he is targeting who does not understand any of his allusions and am the subject of the joke that only he and other educated high class poets are laughing at. I enjoy the discussions because I get let in on the joke, but I don't like reading it because I am the butt of the joke.

Brooke M. Hathaway said...

KIncy, you couldn't have said that any better.

I too am by no means a poetry person and often feel like poets are playing some cruel trick on us. However, I will say, I've actually really enjoyed our last few class discussions on "The Wasteland" and "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." I will not lie, whenever I pick up on something in an dauntingly ambiguous poem (whether intentionally placed by the poet or not) I get seriously and probably overly excited.

As for T.S. Eliot using an extraordinary amount of allusions that make it impossible to read "The Wasteland" without copious amounts of footnotes, I think the Norton's background on the poem does a great job at explaining his possible reasoning. One of the purposes for Eliot's use of fragmentation the Norton points out to be an attack on the linear habits of reading. I'm not quite sure I agree that traditional linear story lines should be attacked (I'm quite found of a beginning, middle, and end), but literature is often used to attack and contradict the status quo and I respect that.

In conclusion, even though I don't always enjoy reading ambiguous, sometimes pretentious, downright confusing poetry, it makes for great discussion and really causes one to utilize all brain cells.

Amy Clement said...

While it may be hard to figure out what Elliot is talking about sometimes, I don't view his poetry to be protenious or elitist at all. Elliot obviously describes something that so many can relate to seeing that thousands, young or old and educated or poor, to hear him read his poetry.

Joseph D'Amico said...

I agree completely. I really don't like much modernist art, and I especially dislike almost all modernist poetry. Like Miranda said, Eliot is a pretentious elitist, and his writing is almost incoherent. If the point of poetry is to convey emotion, I think he fails miserably because I at least did not feel any emotion because I didn't even see his point or if he had one.

Samantha Gillen said...

I like discussing modernist poems but I get frustrated when we can't come to a conclusion at the end of our discussion. When we discuss romantic poetry we can usually figure out what the artist was trying to convey to us pretty easily. In T.S. Elliot's poem, though, it is extremely difficult to figure out what he is trying to convey to us. Maybe he wasn't even trying to convey anything. Maybe the poem was written to be interpreted and not for a specific reason.