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“Sibyl, what do you want?” she answered: “I want to die.”
March 26, 2013 6:45 AM   Subscribe


 
Oh man, that's brilliant. This is how great art changes for each generation.
posted by ardgedee at 6:55 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pruf-rock
posted by ennui.bz at 6:59 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mrs Porter's song
posted by chavenet at 7:00 AM on March 26, 2013


I think we are in rats' alley
Where the dead men lost their bones.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:01 AM on March 26, 2013


oh hey, they have dylan too...
posted by ennui.bz at 7:03 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, this is fantastic.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:04 AM on March 26, 2013


This is fantastic. Thanks for posting it.
posted by daisyk at 7:17 AM on March 26, 2013


It's one of those poems that I've always appreciated for what it represents more so than what it actually is. I don't get much pleasure from reading the verse, but I found this version much more helpful than Eliot's own notes, which often need explanatory notes in themselves.

He was an erudite motherfucker is what I'm saying.
posted by Think_Long at 7:31 AM on March 26, 2013


"Eliot chops and screws the Chaucer quote, setting a dark, elegiac tone that persists throughout the poem."

If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Pass the sizzurp
posted by Chipmazing at 7:36 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


...but I found this version much more helpful than Eliot's own notes, which often need explanatory notes in themselves.

I think his notes were - to some extent -a bit of a deliberate joke, Think_Long.
They were themselves a dig at a literary vogue for explanatory footnotes.

(I know, I know, I need a footnote cite for this!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:42 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Really? I did not know that. Then he was a funny erudite motherfucker.
posted by Think_Long at 7:48 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love that someone (supposedly) from the TS Eliot Society pops up in the comments to say, 'We shall add "cultural clusterfuck" to the various descriptions of Eliot’s work'.
posted by jack_mo at 8:02 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well I'm glad this is mostly played straight without slang and gangsta tropes thrown in. It would've been embarrassing, along the lines of people who translate Shakespeare into bitches & bling, or translate hip-hop into "proper English" (because the joke is that it can't possibly be as insightful/articulate as high-minded poetry from dead white men, or whatever) (and frankly the rapgenius guys have done their fair share of embarrassing things)
posted by naju at 8:14 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


This was good - thank you. I've tried to read the Waste Land a few times, but never came close to understanding it. Not saying that I do now, but at least I have a better perspective.
posted by YAMWAK at 8:39 AM on March 26, 2013


My long buried english major geek is thrilled by both rapgenius and The Millions. I may even give The Wasteland another try.

And, as a bonus, they have The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. I've always loved that way of describing time passing day by day (especially as a caffeine addict).

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 9:16 AM on March 26, 2013


I like this format better than my college English classes, where everyone felt good about pretending to know what stuff meant without ever saying what anything meant. Because that would ruin it, maaan, maybe you're just not deep enough, maaaan. (Here I am impersonating my professors and fellow students.)
posted by bleep at 9:40 AM on March 26, 2013


or translate hip-hop into "proper English" (because the joke is that it can't possibly be as insightful/articulate as high-minded poetry from dead white men, or whatever)

Where I have seen this I have always thought the point was that there's nothing inherently dumb or low-class about the semiotics of hip-hop, as it all sounds perfectly erudite when you recode it into flowery old-fashioned English. But maybe I'm being too charitable in my interpretations of the Joseph Ducreux meme and its ilk.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:37 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


oh hey, it's like Poetry 101 again. Nice find Think_Long.
posted by sleepy pete at 10:47 AM on March 26, 2013


T.S. Eliot’s cultural clusterfuck and middle finger to the stripped-down simplicity of the Imagists....Inspired by James Joyce’s Ulysses, which evokes a day in the life of a Dublin man-about-town through an elaborate series of parallels with Homer’s Odyssey...
I don't understand this passage at all. Ezra Pound was one of the founders of Imagism, and Eliot considered the movement essential to the development of modernist poetry. Imagism was a reaction against the overwrought Victorian poets, and TWL is very much in tune with that response. Its images are simple yet precise, stripped down but complex, which is exactly what Eliot delivers here.

And Ulysses and The Waste Land were both published in 1922. How could Eliot have been "inspired" by it? He did admire the novel, of course, but his review in The Dial, "Ulysses, Order and Myth" is often seen as a mis-reading of the book and one which tries to crowbar Joyce into Eliot's aesthetic ideology.
posted by Catchfire at 11:05 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Catchfire:
Ulysses was published as a book in 1922, but it had already been published serially in The Little Review from 1918 to 1920, and Ezra Pound made sure that Eliot (and other writers) paid attention to what Joyce was up to during that time.
posted by newmoistness at 11:19 AM on March 26, 2013


newmoistness, thanks for that -- I had forgotten about the serialization, and the information about Pound's appreciation of Joyce is interesting. Even so, it's quite an overstatement imo to say that TWL was "inspired" by Ulysses -- Joyce's novel simply confirmed what Eliot was already thinking -- as his criticism at the time shows.
posted by Catchfire at 11:30 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm getting into rap, and I love Eliot. The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock is good but I prefer the mysticism of The Wasteland. But if Rap Genius is going to annotate poetry and non-rap songs (and it should; I like the interface) it should change its name.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:02 PM on March 26, 2013


As Catchfire notes, calling this a response to Imagism is a somewhat idiosyncratic critique. Generally The Waste Land is considered a landmark of the movement, although perhaps not entirely of it, and Pound (who famously edited the poem) was very clearly a major proponent of the form.

My personal reaction to the work is that it's Modernism clawing its way into the sunlight.
posted by dhartung at 4:53 PM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Notes on "Son of Man":

Eliot, in his own notes, referred to Ezekiel 2:1:

He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.”

This is the way God usually addresses a human: some prophetic shit is about to be dropped.


Droppin' prophetic shit, indeed.
posted by exlotuseater at 4:56 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is this the thread where T S Eliot usernames queue up to be counted?
posted by forgetful snow at 5:58 PM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whoa, twenty-five years later, I get the punchline to an Asimov story.
posted by obliquicity at 6:11 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]




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