The Strange Case of Thomas Stearns Eliot

ALL-TIME AMERICAN WRITERS TOURNAMENT

T.S. Eliot

Poetry icon T.S. Eliot, originally penciled in for either a #4 or #5 seed in our tourney brackets, did indeed become a British citizen, in 1927– renouncing his U.S. citizenship in so doing.

One would think that being an American writer involves, at minimum, identifying oneself AS American.
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As important, we’ve received word that Mr. Eliot has no plans to attend the Tournament! (We’re still negotiating this aspect.)

The question’s on our mind
We ponder all the time

With so many writers to squeeze into 64 spots, do we include Thomas Stearns Eliot as one of them?

If anyone cares to make the case for Eliot as an American writer, DO SO. We’ll gladly post it. 300 words. newpoplitATgmail.

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4 thoughts on “The Strange Case of Thomas Stearns Eliot

  1. I’m doubt I qualify for this–criticism is not my full-time job–but I do think he’s still in the running. There’s not a poet anywhere except maybe in that place at the top of the world where monks walk single file who hasn’t been alert to T. S. Eliot. Yes, younger poets are taking poetry to different places, but even so they encountered TS in college.

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  2. Thanks for your comment, Kelly. We can’t disagree with what you say. Eliot is one of the unquestioned giants of the history of poetry, period. “The Wasteland” is an unquestioned masterpiece. If he goes in, he goes high. The question is whether he’s classified as an American or British poet. We’ll have to leave many, many great poets (novelists, playwrights, story writers et.al.) out of the brackets as it is. “On the bubble” are poetry greats like Archibald MacLeish, Edna Millay, Rita Dove, Hart Crane, John Berryman, R.W. Emerson, Robert Penn Warren, James Dickey, and so many others. At the moment we’re unsure what to do with the esteemed Mr. Eliot– but will do more research, try to consult a lit critic or two and make a decision soon!

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    1. Well, for starters I’d eliminate MacLeish, Millay, and Dickey. And although I know some would disagree with me, I’d also cut Crane and Warren

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