I'm reading "The Wasteland" in a rather noisy Starbucks. Yes, corporate coffee sucks. I usually go to a coffee shop in Arvada, but I didn't want to drive out there since all I mostly do during the week is drive.
I am trying to decipher the poem, or at least understand it beyond its shifting voices, shifting speakers and apocalyptic tone at times. Lots of sexuality too. Suffering people become "hooded hoards swarming" and unreal cities are destroyed and rebuilt. Women are once again depicted as neurotic, pathetic and aging disgustingly. I'm wondering now how I was ever a literature major. But I do think more wannabe poets should read a wide breadth of literature beyond contemporary voices of color. There, I said it. I say this while being uncomfortable with "The Wasteland". The disintegration of the culture that Eliot saw is so similar to what people sense today about our culture. It is slowly deteriorating and we look back to the classics for a sense of strength and security? No, mostly people ignore the classics and focus on those many marginalized voices outside the canon. I think this is dangerous. Yet, I think those voices should be read as well.
So I'm reflecting on themes I've read exist in the poem and find it interesting yet overwhelming, much the same way I come to and leave Pound. Exhausted. I have to read it more slowly somewhere where it is quiet.