T.S. Eliot, 1888-1965
The Waste Land (1923)
This poem begins with the famous line “April is the cruelest month.” It was edited by Ezra Pound as well as Eliot and it became a significant Modernist document. This poem, like Pound’s “Cantos,” contains languages other than English. It is also written using the voices of several different speakers, who talk about despair, an inability to consummate love, and a lack of spirituality. This long poem is made of fragments which seem unconnected, partially as a result of the various speakers in the poem. William Carlos Williams once stated that the poem hit the world “like an atom bomb." His comment is particularly interesting because there was no atom bomb during that time.
The Undergraduate Poems of T.S. Eliot (1949)
This slim volume contains poems of Eliot’s that were published in The Harvard Advocate. The poems were written from 1907 to 1910 and the final poem in the collection was one that he read for his commencement.
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1982)
Although this book was first published in 1939, this later edition is noteworthy because it is illustrated by Edward Gorey. The poems within are all about cats and were written for T. S. Eliot's godchildren. Well-known poems include “Mr. Mistoffelees” and “The Rum Tum Tugger.” The cats and poems from this book were brought to the stage in 1981 in the musical Cats, which is still being played around the world.