An evening with T.S. Eliot
Last Tuesday I went to the event “An evening with T.S. Eliot” at one of my favorite bookstores: Waterstones in Amsterdam. Of course, it was not an actual evening with T.S. Eliot for obvious reasons. However, guest speaker Jim McCue, co-editor of The Collected Poems of T.S. Eliot gave a talk on the brilliance of his poems.
It’s safe to say that Waterstones is my favorite English bookstore in the Netherlands. This British retailer opened its doors at the Kalverstraat in 1998, lucky us! The staff is very knowledgable and they always provide me with great advice. Believe me, it is very difficult to leave the store without having bought at least one book. I was not aware that Waterstones also organized events, but thanks to Facebook I discovered that they actually do. When I was notified on an event on T.S. Eliot I knew I had to join, so I did!
The event was held at the third floor of the bookstore, so I was immediately inspired, being surrounded by all those books and all. Because they were so kind to let everybody in, some of us had to sit on the floor but the lecture was worth the slight discomfort. Jim McCue gave us a unique glimpse in the mind of T.S. Eliot. He worked for nine years on The Collected Poems of T.S. Eliot together with Christopher Ricks, which resulted in two books. I was in awe by some of the explanations Jim McCue gave us. For example, in one poem two words don’t rhyme, of which one is the word “question”. The reason for this is that the question should remain unanswered. How brilliant is that? If you are an admirer of T.S. Eliot and you want to know more about these little amazing facts, you should really buy these books (and preferably at Waterstones of course) 😉
Are you curious yet? Faber & Faber explain the books very wel:
The Poems of T. S. Eliot is the authoritative edition of one of our greatest poets, scrupulously edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue. It provides, for the first time, a fully scrutinized text of Eliot’s poems, carefully restoring accidental omissions and removing textual errors that have crept in over the full century in which Eliot has been so frequently printed and reprinted. The edition also presents many poems from Eliot’s youth which were published only decades later, as well as others that saw only private circulation in his lifetime, of which dozens are collected for the first time.
I would like to thank Waterstones and Jim McCue for the insightful evening. I am not an expert on T.S. Eliot, but I know for sure that I will dig deeper into his poems. Moreover, if there ever is another inspiring event, I will be there.