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eBook formatAudio CD, (torrent)En
PublisherFaber & Faber
File size2.5 Mb
Release date 01.06.2009
Book rating4.37 (8738 votes)
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T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets are as apocalyptically-sound as his more well-known The Waste Land (at least in terms of bored freshman who, in the fullness of time, will most likely only dimly remember sludging their way through the poem in some requisite English Lit courses), but whereas the latter keeps its cosmic lens rolling on the ecological, religious and human desolation brought to the early 20th century by the wonders of Imperialism and Industrialization, the FQ, on the other hand, carpet bombs the idea of consciousness and its relation with Time and Being. Who would have guessed that having self-awareness could be such a terrifying notion?

Using an effective array of techniques to get his point across—repetition of words, letters and syllables (usually in sets of three); spurts of faux-Middle English; Thesaurus-bending diction; a heady blending of up-to-the-minute psychology, philosophy and multi-religious allusions—Eliot’s poems reject the notion of Time as a flowing line and instead present the concept as a brick wall in which Being moves through or puddles about in a dizzying array of cross-currents. Movement is key to understanding the FQ with its many metaphors involving travel by sea, air and dirt. Published over a period of six years, the heft of these poems is not found in their narrative continuity, but in the revisiting of meditations that are clawed at again and again with Eliot’s lush and articulate narrative voice, all in the hopes of dispensing with notions of endings and beginnings as ways of thinking about anything.

A poet/musician who is a good buddy of mine has been at me for months to read these poems, and all I have to say is that the dude knows what he’s talking about. Four Quartets is a class-act display of poetic virtuosity that I hope to be repeatedly revisiting over however long a time I’ll be kicking around this mortal coil.

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