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Moderately Specific 20th C Poetry Question


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Literature people--I have a question for a paper I'm working on, and wanted to crowdsource here.

I'm working on a project that traces poems that follow in the tradition of Eliot's The Waste Land, either directly or obliquely. I'm starting with Anne Sexton's "Hurry Up Please It's Time" and also Robert Hayden's "Middle Passage." Anyone know of other 20th century poems that are directly grappling with, imitating, or engaging with The Waste Land?

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This sounds like a fascinating essay! I don’t really have an answer... but I always found Anne Carson’s poetry to be reminiscent of Eliot’s poetry and prose, plus she is very engaged with the classics and Ancient Greek... not sure if there is anything there.

Take this recommendation with a grain of salt: one critic (Ramón Soto-Crespo) suggests that the book Puerto Rican Obituary by Pedro Puerto (comprised of “Puerto Rican Obituary,” “The Broken English Dream,” “Beware of Signs,” “Suicide Notefrom a Cockroach in a Low Income Housing Project,” and “Tata”) is a Puerto Rican, anti-colonial and anti-modern rewrite of The Waste Land... I am not totally convinced, and Soto-Crespo doesn’t do much more then say it and draw a few parallels (strong parallels indeed, but not exhaustive). I can send you the pdf tomorrow if you would like, or you can find it on JSTOR, or check out his book, Mainlnd Passage (the longer version of the essay appears as chapter 4 and is titled “Out of the Mainland”). This might be too much of a departure from what you’re doing in your paper, but it could just be fun to check out, especially since Pietri, as a spoken word poet who was influenced by both lyric and “projective” verse, as Charles Olson has it, bears many similarities and differences to Eliot. 

 

Edited by j.alicea
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Oh, and Pietri routinely dressed as a reverend and gave out free condoms to his audience... not sure how that fits with Eliot’s Christianity and that bar scene at the end of “A Game of Chess” ?

 

E4ABEC02-4500-49A9-8B60-3A94D5CC80CC.jpeg

Edited by j.alicea
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20 minutes ago, j.alicea said:

Oh!!!! (Last post I swear) The Bridge by Hart Crane, of course!

HOW did I not think of this!? Esp given that I'm thinking "Middle Passage!? Thank you thank you thank you. This is a clear one with a strong link.

Have no idea what I will find as this project is still super nascent. Because you have things by HD and Williams and others that reckon at least with the style and legacy of The Waste Land, but I think I have to narrow what I'm meaning by "engaging" with it so this doesn't just become an examination of every 20th century "epic" poem. 

Thinking of maybe chasing the multivocal element, in which case "Puerto Rican Obituary" as a single poem might be a strong argument with the 5 characters and the all caps? Hmmmm...Thank you so much again for the suggestions!

I staged a theatrical version of The Waste Land last year, and the way I staged the bar scene...Pietri in that photo would've been right at home! 

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