Saturday, 3 February 2018

Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’ at Turner Contemporary Margate a quick view 3 Feb 2018

‘s a very difficult business writing stuff about art exhibitions and stuff that is related to a poet like T S Eliot well – well-nigh impossible. Back in some time warp this generation of academics who read the “classics” fluently in latin and greek and wrote "modern" poetry in the sense that Picasso painted modern art. A generation and type long gone who were about during my distant childhood and I think would now be regarded as a bit of an alien species.

Is it “So intelligent, So elegant”? it would certainly have been easier to have done; Old Possum’s book of Practical Cats.  Easier for me that is – to write about it.

Anyway I wandered around Turner Contemporary, The Waste Land, with Eliot reading it on my headphones, well apart from the fortune teller, abortion victim and so on, unless Eliot did a very good impersonation of a woman. Exepting Old Possum, it’s The Four Quartets wot’s mi fave and I can declaim.

I have to fess up here that I can’t really understand The Waste Land that well - is, too far up the academic ladder as it were.

I think in Turner Contemporary something connected, the gallery was very busy and photography is allowed, so I took some photos. 

I would think back in the 1920s Eliot would have considered himself as part of an experimental movement in modern art and literature.

I took some photos, for anyone keen here are the links to the photographic raw material

‘ere is the Margit bit:

“My feet are at Moorgate, and my heart
Under my feet. After the event
He wept. He promised a ‘new start.’
I made no comment. What should I resent?”

“On Margate Sands.
I can connect
Nothing with nothing.
The broken fingernails of dirty hands.
My people humble people who expect
                       la la

To Carthage then I came

Burning burning burning burning
O Lord Thou pluckest me out
O Lord Thou pluckest


The last stanza being the bit about the confessions of St Augustine of Hippo, not the Thanet and Canterbury saint but the other Augustine. The rest has always been a bit of a mystery to me.    

Eliot once told an aspiring writer that he wrote poetry using a small drum to help with the rhythm of the verse.

Then there is the influence of David Lodge and the bit in his novel Small World where Persse McGarrigle is writing a book on the influence of TS Eliot on Shakespeare, a humorous novel which cuts to the quick at times in this context.

 A good exhibition? I think so, I will be going back for more viewings. 

Lots of different artists which I always find difficult, to follow the Eliot connections would be hard work for a lot of people I think. 

A good use for The Waste Land in a contemporary sense where the underlying educational structure that once made people think, possibly about being caned for not speaking exclusively in latin before prep, may leave some a bit confused. 

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