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Preludes - reading T.S. eliot with vaidehi tandel

"and then the lighting of the lamps...." kya baat hain. that last line always gets me. Thankyou Vaidehi Tandel for reminding me again of Eliot and his uncanny vision of the world. Today's poem has been guest curated Vaidehi. It makes me very happy to have a friend, reader and occasional blogger on board sharing her love for poetry, and for Eliot! Keep coming back! Poetly would be happy to have you again You will find the rest of the poem at her blog: I encountered the first part of Preludes as a standalone poem when I was probably 14. T S Eliot was unknown to me then and although I was oblivious to any context and lacked the intellectual wherewithal to process poetry (or perhaps because of it) the poem left a huge impression on me. It was the antithesis of poetry as I had known it until then —devoid of any metaphor or a regular rhyme scheme, and without any seeming purpose or theme. And yet, it was unequivocal that this was a poem. In 13 economical lines, the poem describes the period, the setting, the time, the season, the sights, the smells, and the mood. Now that I have more context and know my literary "isms", I can spot the imagist influence in this verse. Whereas earlier I had focused on the images, now the adjectives (grimy, withered, broken, vacant, burnt-out) jump out making the sense of gloom and desolation — among the most recurring themes in Eliot's repertoire — even more acute. I only found out that the poem is in four parts when I first looked for it online sometime when I was in college. You can find the poem in its entirety here. Preludes is not T S Eliot's most famous work (that distinction probably goes to Wasteland) nor is it his finest (I submit to you, reader, that his finest is The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock). But it holds a very special place in my woefully inadequate literary education because, coming at the heels of the Romantics, it showed me what else poetry can be.

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