TS Eliot: Public Poet, Private Agony

“TS Eliot was fastidious about the publication of his work and – as editor at Faber & Faber – he was able to oversee the publication of his poems. After writing The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, and a clutch of modernist poems, Eliot became increasingly conservative and religious. He wrote little poetry after 1930, and wrote no significant poetry during the last 20 years of his life. Between 1930 and 1945 he wrote a book of children’s verse (Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats), a single suite of modest-length poems (Four Quartets) and some verse plays. All except the plays are in this new two-volume collection, The Poems of TS Eliot.

“Here you will find all of Eliot’s verse collected with extensive footnotes, minor textual errors corrected and bibliographical data collated. It gives us the definitive and complete collection. The Waste Land (1922) is republished in final and draft forms. The original draft was much longer than the final text. ‘Thank God [Ezra Pound] reduced a mess of some 800 lines to about half its length’, Eliot wrote in a letter on 1 December 1932. Over 200 pages of small-print footnotes help to illuminate this famously complex poem…”

Read the full review online here on Spiked, 25 February 2016: http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/ts-eliot-public-poet-private-agony/18067#.Vs-Cg_l_s5k

Manos: Rediscovering the World’s Worst Film


“When film enthusiast and collector Ben Solovey bid on a box of film reels at an auction in 2011, he had little idea of what exactly was in the batch. When he started to examine the film cans he came across a print of Manos: The Hands of Fate, a movie commonly described as ‘the world’s worst film’.

“There are many claimants to the title of ‘the world’s worst film’. Most of these films turn out to have single critical flaws with constellations of minor flaws: Plan 9 From Outer Space is an eccentric and shoddy B-movie; The Room is the world’s most awkwardly scripted and stiffly acted day-time soap opera (in film format); After Last Season is crushingly boring as well as incomprehensible; and the entire filmography of Neil Breen is a glimpse into the most bizarre worldview ever committed to film. Ultimately, the very worst films are probably those which are just unwatchably dull.Manos is different: dull, yes, but oddly fascinating.

“On paper, Manos (which is nominally a horror film) does not sound that ridiculous….”

Read the full review on Spiked website, 12 February 2016, here: http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/manos-rediscovering-the-worlds-worst-film/18027#.Vr38Dfl_s5l