Sunday, March 15, 2009

Not a waste

To my earlier specifications of Prufrock and Other Observations, I will also allow The Waste Land. The latter, at least, still has a profound connection with the City Streets, and provides the landscape of modern degradation, which is the essential background, in my estimation, of Hammett's work (once again, there is documented evidence that Hammett was a Eliotophile early on). Eliot's poetized City Streets became Hammett's fictionized Mean Streets. W.L. is great too because so many people don't understand it. Or rather, they think it is meant to be understood, in a logical sense, but really it is not. It is more of an impressionistic account of emotions and scenes that too often escape us.

W.L. was kind of a crossroads. There was a very surface-level element in his earliest poems; and in the later poems, there was a sort of unapologetic profundity (which is fine, just not what I'm looking for in a poet). In W.L., however, the two met and mingled. Like an existentialist's view of the world, the angst is present in objects themselves, not merely in one's mind or perception of them.

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