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T.S. Eliot. Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888 – 1965) was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom and was naturalised as a British subject at age 39.

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T.S. Eliot


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    1. T.S. Eliot Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888 – 1965) was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom and was naturalised as a British subject at age 39.

    2. The poem that made his name, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is regarded as a masterpiece of the modernist movement. He followed this with what have become some of the best-known poems in the English language, including Gerontion (1920), The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930), and Four Quartets (1945). He is also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.

    3. This is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsNot with a bang but a whimper. Human kind cannot bear very much reality. Murder In the Cathedral The Hollow Men • You now have learned enough to see • That Cats are much like you and me • And other people whom we find • Possessed of various types of mind. • For some are sane and some are mad • And some are good and some are bad • And some are better, some are worse — • But all may be described in verse. • April is the cruellest month, breeding • Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing • Memory and desire, stirring • Dull roots with spring rain. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats The Waste Land I have measured out my life with coffee spoons. In my beginning is my end. • I grow old ... I grow old ... • I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled. Four Quartets The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

    4. Allen Ginsberg Ginsberg (1926 – 1997) was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. Ginsberg is best known for his epic poem "Howl", in which he celebrated his fellow "angel-headed hipsters" and harshly denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States. He vigorously opposed militarism, materialism and sexual repression. His poem, "Howl" is one of the classic poems of the Beat Generation.

    5. Sylvia Plath Sylvia Plath (1932 – 1963) was an American poet, novelist and short story writer. Following a long struggle with depression and a marital separation, she committed suicide in 1963. Controversy continues to surround the events of her life and death, as well as her writing and legacy. Plath is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry and is best known for her two collections The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel. In 1982, she became the first poet to win a Pulitzer Prize posthumously, for The Collected Poems. She also wrote The Bell Jar, a semi-autobiographical novel published shortly before her death.

    6. Wallace Stevens Wallace Stevens (1879 – 1955) was a major American Modernist poet. He was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, educated at Harvard and then New York Law School, and spent most of his life working as a lawyer. His best-known poems include "Anecdote of the Jar", "Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock", "The Emperor of Ice-Cream", "Sunday Morning", "The Snow Man", and "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird", all of which appear in his Collected Poems for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1955. Harmonium was his first collection of poetry.

    7. William Carlos Williams William Carlos Williams (1883 – 1963) was an American poet closely associated with modernism and Imagism. He was also a pediatrician and general practitioner of medicine. Williams "worked harder at being a writer than he did at being a physician"; but during his long lifetime, Williams excelled at both.

    8. The Red Wheelbarrowis a poem often considered the masterwork of William Carlos Williams. The 1923 poem exemplifies the Imagist-influenced philosophy of “no ideas but in things.” The Red Wheelbarrow was originally published in Williams' 1923 anthology titled Spring and All. The Red Wheelbarrow • so much dependsupon • a red wheelbarrow • glazed with rainwater • beside the whitechickens.

    9. This Is Just To Say I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold William Carlos Williams

    10. e.e. cummings E. E. Cummings (1894 – 1962) was a poet, essayist, playwright, novelist who first attracted attention, in an age of literary experimentation, for his unconventional use of grammar, punctuation, and language. Cummings's name is often styled “e.e. cummings” in the mistaken belief that the poet legally changed his name to lowercase letters only. Cummings used capital letters only irregularly in his verse and did not object when publishers began lowercasing his name, but he himself capitalized his name in his signature and in the title pages of original editions of his books.His first book of verse was Tulips and Chimneys(1923). He is remembered as a preeminent voice of 20th century poetry, as well as one of the most popular.

    11. e.e.cummings • in Just- • in Just • spring when the world is mud- • luscious the little • lame baloonman • whistles far and wee • and eddieandbill come • running from marbles and • piracies and it's • spring • when the world is puddle-wonderful • the queer • old baloonman whistles • far and wee • and bettyandisbel come dancing • from hop-scotch and jump-rope and • it's • spring • and • the • goat-footed • baloonMan whistles • far • and • wee I thank You God i thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes (i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth day of life and love and wings:and of the gay great happening illimitably earth) how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any--lifted from the no of all nothing--human merely being doubt unimaginable You? (now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

    12. Carl Sandburg Carl Sandburg (1878 – 1967) was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He won three Pulitzer Prizes, two for his poetry and another for a biography of Abraham Lincoln. Chicago Poems Rootabaga Stories (for children) The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg, Corn Huskers Abraham Lincoln: The War Years

    13. Hog Butcher for the World,Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;Stormy, husky, brawling,City of the Big Shoulders:They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,Bareheaded,Shoveling,Wrecking,Planning,Building, breaking, rebuilding,Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people, Laughing!Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation. “Chicago” “Fog” The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.

    14. Robert Frost Robert Lee Frost (1874 – 1963) was an American poet highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. A popular and often-quoted poet, Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. Frost was 86 when he spoke and performed a reading of his poetry at the inauguration of President Kennedy on January 20, 1961.

    15. Frost Poems “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” “After Apple Picking” “Home Burial” “Nothing Gold Can Stay” “The Death of the Hired Man” “The Gift Outright” “The Oven Bird” “Mending Wall” “Fire and Ice” “Birches” “The Road Not Taken”

    16. A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom. “Mending Wall “ “Good fences make good neighbours.”

    17. Robinson Jeffers Robinson Jeffers (1887 – 1962) was known for his work about the central California coast. Most of Jeffers' poetry was written in classic narrative and epic form, but today he is also known for his short verse, and considered an icon of the environ-mental movement. Poems, including Tamar and Roan Stallion, introduced Jeffers as a master of the epic form, reminiscent of ancient Greek poets. These poems were full of controversial subject matter like incest, murder and parricide. Jeffers' short verse includes "Hurt Hawks“, "The Purse-Seine”,and "Shine, Perishing Republic“.

    18. In the 1920s and 1930s, at the height of his popularity, Jeffers was famous for being a tough outdoorsman, living in relative solitude and writing of the difficulty and beauty of the wild. He spent most of his life in Carmel, California, in a granite house that he had built himself called "Tor House and Hawk Tower". Tor is a Celtic term describing a large outcropping of rock. Many of his poems reflect the influence of stone and building on his life. His intense relationship with the physical world is described in often brutal and apocalyptic verse, and demonstrates a preference for the natural world over what he sees as the negative influence of civilization.

    19. Carmel Point The extraordinary patience of things! This beautiful place defaced with a crop of suburban houses— How beautiful when we first beheld it, Unbroken field of poppy and lupin walled with clean cliffs; No intrusion but two or three horses pasturing, Or a few milch cows rubbing their flanks on the outcrop rockheads— Now the spoiler has come: does it care? Not faintly. It has all time. It knows the people are a tide That swells and in time will ebb, and all Their works dissolve. Meanwhile the image of the pristine beauty Lives in the very grain of the granite, Safe as the endless ocean that climbs our cliff.—As for us: We must uncenter our minds from ourselves; We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident As the rock and ocean that we were made from.

    20. Robert Lowell Robert Lowell (1917 - 1977) was an American poet, considered the founder of the confessional poetry movement. He was appointed the sixth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress where he served from 1947 until 1948. He won the Pulitzer Prize in both 1947 and 1974, the National Book Award in 1960, and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977. Lowell was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a family that included poets Amy Lowell and James Russell Lowell. Lord Weary’s Castle For the Union Dead Life Studies “The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket”

    21. Ezra Pound Ezra Pound (1885 – 1972) was an American expatriate poet and critic and a major figure in the early modernist movement in poetry. He became known for his role in developing Imagism, which, in reaction to the Victorian and Georgian poets, favored tight language, unadorned imagery, and a strong correspondence between the verbal and musical qualities of the verse and the mood it expressed. His best-known works include Ripostes (1912), Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920), and his unfinished 120-section epic, The Cantos, which consumed his middle and late career, and was published between 1917 and 1969.

    22. His own work apart, Ezra Pound was responsible for advancing the careers of some of the best-known modernist writers of the early 20th century. In addition to Eliot, Joyce, Lewis, Frost, Williams, and Hemingway, he befriended and helped MarianneMoore, Louis Zukofsky, Jacob Epstein, Basil Bunting, E.E. Cummings, Margaret Anderson, George Oppen, and Charles Olson. Hugh Witemeyer argues that the Imagist movement was the most important in 20th-century English language poetry because hardly any prominent poet of Pound's generation and the two generations after him was untouched by it. As early as 1917 Carl Sandburg wrote in Poetry: "All talk on modern poetry, by people who know, ends with dragging in Ezra Pound somewhere. He may be named only to be cursed as wanton and mocker, poseur, trifler and vagrant. Or he may be classed as filling a niche today like that of Keats in a preceding epoch. The point is, he will be mentioned."

    23. William Butler Yeats William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939) was an Anglo-Irishpoet and playwright, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for what the Nobel Committee described as "inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation." He was the first Irishman so honored. Yeats is generally considered one of the few writers who completed their greatest works after being awarded the Nobel Prize; such works include The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1929).

    24. Yeats’ 1920 poem, "The Second Coming" contains some of literature's most potent images of the twentieth century. Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhereThe ceremony of innocence is drowned.The best lack all conviction, while the worstAre full of passionate intensity. The poem served as the inspiration for the name of the 1958 novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. John Singer Sargent, Portrait of W. B. Yeats, 1908 “Easter, 1916” “Sailing to Byzantium”

    25. Dylan Thomas Dylan Thomas (1914 – 1953) was a Welsh poet and writer who wrote exclusively in English. In addition to poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself. His public readings, particularly in America, won him great acclaim; his sonorous voice with a subtle Welsh lilt became almost as famous as his works. His best-known works include the "play for voices" Under Milk Wood and the celebrated villanelle for his dying father, "Do not go gentle into that good night". Appreciative critics have also noted the craftsmanship and compression of poems such as "In my Craft or Sullen Art" and the rhapsodic lyricism of "Fern Hill'".

    26. Do not go gentle into that good night,Old age should burn and rave at close of day;Rage, rage against the dying of the light.Though wise men at their end know dark is right,Because their words had forked no lightning theyDo not go gentle into that good night.Good men, the last wave by, crying how brightTheir frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,Rage, rage against the dying of the light.Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,Do not go gentle into that good night. Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sightBlind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.And you, my father, there on the sad height,Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.Do not go gentle into that good night.Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Click here to hear Dylan Thomas read this poem. Another popular book by Thomas - A Child’s Christmas in Wales