Poetry Special – The Waste Land

I will show you fear in a handful of dust
From: The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

During this programme, the text of The Waste Land can be heard in its entirety. James Fenton, poet and former Professor of Poetry at Oxford University, will shed light on the literary-historical context of The Waste Land. The translator Paul Claes will also be participating.

‘Complimenti, you bitch. I am wracked by the seven jealousies,’ Ezra Pound wrote to T.S. Eliot after having read the manuscript of The Waste Land. The poem, over 430 lines long, appeared in 1922, suddenly transforming Eliot from an unknown Bloomsbury salon poet into a world celebrity. In The Waste Land, Eliot gave shape to the spiritual vacuum of Western civilisation after the First World War, making out of London a hellish landscape that is a direct continuation of Dante’s La Divina Commedia. In extremely everyday language Eliot, via various voices from all strata of society, makes clear his abhorrence of modern city life. Some present-day critics suggest that Eliot personally had much to conceal, but in his essays Eliot argued that a distance must be maintained between the life of the poet and the poem as a work of art.

And this is precisely what the poet and translator Paul Claes has not done. To his recent translation Het barre land Paul Claes has added an extensive afterword, in which he deals with the biographical background to the poem and with its sexual charge.

04. T.S. Eliot_Lebrecht Music & Arts .jpg
 Lebecht Music & Arts/Hollandse Hoogte

  • Tuesday 10 June, 20.15, Grote Zaal
  • Language: Dutch and English
39e Poetry International Festival