Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing


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Early years

His medications were taken away, and when he fell ill he was accused of faking his condition. I also kept believing that our numbers, not to mention our vital economic, cultural, and political contributions to the city, would continue to protect all of those who call Miami home.

Only a week into the Trump Presidency, we learned that we were wrong. Throughout the rally, because I seek solace in words, my thoughts kept returning not just to my beloved uncle but also to Jones, Hughes, and Brooks, whose ode to the singer, actor, and activist Paul Robeson echoes the words in our chants:. It is a vital necessity of our existence. Poetry, she said, is how we name the nameless.

Stripped of our usual bearings and sanctuaries, we must now decide on a daily basis what our tangible actions will be. Behind the glass, it seems frozen, waiting for summer night to melt it into action. For that is the hard home-run. Live not for battles won. The scene takes place at dawn in London after a night on duty at an air-raid post during an air attack; the master speaks in conclusion:.

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The Family Reunion and Murder in the Cathedral are Christian tragedies—the former a tragedy of revenge, the latter of the sin of pride. Murder in the Cathedral is a modern miracle play on the martyrdom of Thomas Becket. The most striking feature of this, his most successful play, is the use of a chorus in the traditional Greek manner to make apprehensible to common humanity the meaning of the heroic action.

The Family Reunion was less popular.

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It contains scenes of great poignancy and some of the finest dramatic verse since the Elizabethans, but the public found this translation of the story of Orestes into a modern domestic drama baffling and was uneasy at the mixture of psychological realism, mythical apparitions at a drawing-room window, and a comic chorus of uncles and aunts. These plays are comedies in which the plots are derived from Greek drama. In them Eliot accepted current theatrical conventions at their most conventional, subduing his style to a conversational level and eschewing the lyrical passages that gave beauty to his earlier plays.

Only The Cocktail Party , which is based upon the Alcestis of Euripides , achieved a popular success. In spite of their obvious theatrical defects and a failure to engage the sympathies of the audience for the characters, these plays succeed in handling moral and religious issues of some complexity while entertaining the audience with farcical plots and some shrewd social satire. Eliot rigorously kept his private life in the background. In he married Vivien Haigh-Wood.

After she was mentally ill, and they lived apart; she died in In January he married Valerie Fletcher , with whom he lived happily until his death and who became his literary executor. He also had his detractors, ranging from avant-garde American poets who believed that he had abandoned the attempt to write about contemporary America to traditional English poets who maintained that he had broken the links between poetry and a large popular audience.

During his lifetime, however, his work was the subject of much sympathetic exegesis. Since his death and coinciding with a wider challenge to the academic study of English literature that his critical precepts did much to establish , interpreters have been markedly more critical, focusing on his complex relationship to his American origins, his elitist cultural and social views, and his exclusivist notions of tradition and of race. Nevertheless, Eliot was unequaled by any other 20th-century poet in the ways in which he commanded the attention of his audience.

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Emily Dickinson

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Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. Early years Eliot was descended from a distinguished New England family that had relocated to St. Facts Matter. Start Your Free Trial Today.

Langston Hughes

Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Eliot , another American resident in London, in his most innovative poetry, Prufrock and Other Observations and The Waste Land , traced the sickness of modern civilization—a civilization that, on the evidence of the war, preferred death or death-in-life to life—to the spiritual emptiness….

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Eliot , who produced in his Four Quartets —42; published as a whole, the masterpiece of the war. Reflecting upon language, time, and history, he searched, in the three quartets written during the war, for moral and religious significance in the midst of destruction…. Eliot lived abroad most of his life, becoming a British subject in His first volume, Prufrock and Other Observations , was published in In appeared The Waste Land , the poem by which he first became famous.

Filled with fragments, competing voices, learned…. Angus Lindsay Calder, Scottish critic, poet, and historian born Feb. Eliot Louis, city, adjacent to but independent of St.


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    Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing
    Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing
    Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing
    Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing
    Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing
    Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing
    Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing
    Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing Living into Words: Poetry in a Time of Killing

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