Eliot’s Criticism Applied to his Poetry

An analysis and application of T.S. Eliot’s criticism on poetry to his own poems.

This paper applies the ideas expressed by T.S. Eliot in his essays to six of his poems and examines the connections between his ‘theory’ and his poetry. The paper asserts that the most important of Eliot’s ideas could be said to be that of the current which a poet needed to grasp.
Eliot remarks that, in relation to the past, the poet: can neither take the past as a lump, an indiscriminate bolus, nor can he form himself wholly on one or two private admirations, nor can he form himself wholly upon one preferred period (5). I The Waste Land, he is dealing with modernity through all of history, but that history is identified and made personal. Numerous allusions locate time and place: Ezekiel the prophet and Emmaaus, for instance, are juxtaposed with the Hofgarten. The Waste Land is a study of civilization doomed by its own sterility…Round them the jagged memories of shattered past remind them of what they have lost: the potency of sexual and spiritual coherence (Coote 26). Eliot was insistent that the poet must be very conscious of the main current (Eliot 5). In this poem, it is clear that he achieved and remained conscious of that current.