100 Years of The Waste Land | London commemorates the poem with a six-day festival, theme: Fragments

    Of all modernist literature, TS Eliot's The Waste Land is one of the most difficult to piece together, as countless wistful literature students have realized. How to crack the code of its influence and multiplied footnotes? Is the poem partly autobiographical, describing the poet's mental breakdown and unstable marriage? Why do the opening lines of the poem assert that April, the season of spring and new hope, is "the cruelest month"? Is it really one of the greatest works of language? Or just "a rhythmic grumbling," as the poet once declared? Eliot People Visual Infographic

    Elliott People Visual Infographic

    This April, readers will have the opportunity to rethink these questions and maybe even find some answers. To mark the 100th birthday of The Waste Land, London hosted a six-day festival, with 22 churches packed with responses to Eliot's poem and its afterlife influences. The theme of the festival is "Fragments".
    Séan Doran, co-curator of the Fragments festival, said: “The Waste Land has so many different elements, so many different ways of reacting. For me, it’s a dream job. "
    If all you want is a dry textual analysis, the "Fragments" section will not meet your expectations - there is no direct reading of the poem "The Waste Land". Instead, Dolan and fellow director Liam Browne arranged for a party of artistic reimaginings, many of which were musical, as poetry, melding the vulgar pop culture with the highest art. One of the events focused on the piano piece from Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring," which Eliot had heard a year before the poem was published and had a profound effect on him. Another piece is Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, written in a Nazi POW concentration camp - in the darkest of circumstances, but also with a sense of unease. stable beliefs. The concert ended with a tribute to Wilton's concert hall star Marie Lloyd, whom Elliott enthusiastically - perhaps discordantly - hailed as the "genius" he had in "The Waste Land" An obituary was written for her a week before the first publication.
    The festival is divided into five evening events, encouraging visitors to drift between the different events. Take, for example, a new line from a poem by Orkney-born composer Erland Cooper on your way to a sea hut or gospel concert. Mezzo-soprano Ruby Philogene also performed songs by Wagner, one of many artists cited or mentioned in Eliot's poems. Mezzo-soprano Ruby Filojian sings Wagner at the 'Shards' Festival Credit: The Guardian

    Mezzo-soprano Ruby Filojian sings Wagner at 'Shard' Festival Credit: The Guardian

    “We have some recommended routes,” Dolan explained, “but you can deviate as much as you can and accept different locations. Or just sit and listen to Gavin Bryars’ The Blood of Jesus Never Made Me "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet" for 50 minutes, slowly immersed in it."
    Will Elliott approve of this arrangement? Hearing the question, Dolan laughed: "I hope he'll say, we've built something real on this poem. We've put it back where it was."
    The event begins with a "secular sermon" delivered by Jeanette Winterson in the ancient nave of Southwark Cathedral, which will explore The Waste Land's examination of faith and belief. Eliot was an ardent student of 17th-century missionaries like Lancelot Andrewes, who was buried just metres from where Winterson spoke. Winterson believes that The Waste Land shows Eliot's struggle to find a form for his Christian faith, which eventually led to his conversion to Anglicanism in 1927 - a point his friend Virginia Woolf felt he was at Not seriously, but he actually is.
    The Wasteland explores some of the most profound questions. "It's a slow point in this unpredictable world," Winterson said. "It encourages you to take a deep breath and take your hands off the panic button. If you're willing to spend a little more time on it, it will Found it to have a truly meditative quality."
    When she first came across The Waste Land as a student, Winterson was listening to Alec Guinness's famous mid-1970s record, with its witty and surprising lyricism that refreshed her memory. "Every time, there are deeper, unexpected places," she thought. "It's like a movie, almost visual. Whenever you think you know where you are, it moves somewhere else. ."
    So what does Winterson think of Eliot's unmistakable anti-Semitism? "That's true, I don't make excuses for it," she replied, "but I don't like cancel culture."
    The Fragments festival is spread across historic city churches, 15 of which were designed by Christopher Wren. It highlights something about The Waste Land that is not often appreciated: it is one of the greatest poems about London ever written. Southwark Cathedral is just a stone’s throw away from London Bridge, the site of one of the poem’s more pessimistic musings on death (“In the yellow mist of the breaking day of winter, a crowd of people streamed across London Bridge, There were so many, I did not expect death to destroy so many."). As a clerk at Lloyds Bank, Elliott worked on King William Street, just north of the bridge; he would walk past the eerie building of St Mary's Woolnorth and hear every weekday clock ticked in the poem. "Silent Voice". The Church of St Mary Wurnos mentioned in The Waste Land Source: The Guardian

    The Church of St. Mary Wurnos mentioned in The Waste Land Source: The Guardian

    In later chapters, visitors enter a closing hour that sounds like a London pub ("See you tomorrow, Bill. See you tomorrow, Lu. See you tomorrow, May. See you tomorrow. Goodbye. See you tomorrow, tomorrow." See you.”), and one of the most evocative of these takes the reader east along the Strand to a dive bar on Lower Thames Street where the mandolin plays, “The Fishmonger” Rest at noon."
    "There are a lot of locations in the poem, especially in London," Dolan said. "We tried to make it site-specific."
    Some of these different sights and sounds will be refracted into a new acoustic work, designed by the French sound artist and composer Pierre-Yves Macé and housed in Saint-Maries-la-Rue de Zipsay Wave Church. It plays on a loop, extracting various voices and characters from the text, creating a world of sound for this noisiest poem.
    "Gradually, we had 10 voices, including native speakers of French, Italian and German," Metz explained, "and then I turned the words into music."
    Although The Waste Land is considered a cornerstone of English literature, it is much more than that. "The poem, in my opinion, is totally European," Metz said.
    However, the participants in the "Shard" festival are not only Europeans. British-Indian pianist Rekesh Chauhan will perform at the closing ceremony of the festival. The arrangement was inspired by the last sentence of the poem, "Shantih Shantih Shantih" - a Sanskrit phrase taken from an ancient Hindu scripture and translated by Eliot as "peace that conveys understanding" - Chuhan will draw upon the scriptures Indian robes to provide a calm and restful meditation.
    Eliot studied Sanskrit and was fascinated by the connections between different belief systems. Chuhan argues that despite the anxiety and turmoil the poem exhibits, it exhibits a feeling that transcends life.
    "The Wasteland is dark, but there's also a lot about regeneration, renewal, spring, and I really hope it comes out," Chuhan said.
    Perhaps this is the lesson people have learned from The Waste Land for a century: Created in the shadow of world wars and devastating global pandemics, it raises the question of whether fragments of the old order can be reassembled, or, for the sake of Moving on, do we need to start over.
    Dolan finds it somewhat uncanny that these themes are back to square one in 2022. "After 100 years, we are again facing Covid-19, world wars, the fragility of life, and even climate change. This poem is very relevant to the current situation."
    But beyond that, he argues, The Waste Land offers a way to navigate a world full of tension and uncertainty. "All you need to do is listen to its power and spirituality. It's all there, waiting," he said.


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