Image: © Julia Waugh
Dr Simon Smith
"I'm interested in where you situate him personally in relation to this poem."
Dr.Simon Smith was interviewed for #airedeturner produced and curated by Waugh Office Productions for Venice Agendas at Turner Contemporary in Margate England.
TS Eliot wrote part of The Wasteland in Margate at a Victorian shelter that provides cover from the Sun and rain. It still sits on the shoreline and has recently become a site of pilgrimage with the continued examination of London and the South East's influence on this epic poem.
We asked the poet and lecturer Simon Smith PhD about the relevance of an artist's personal experience when analysing their work and productivity. He positioned social media as a pervasive influence on the codes and permissions of access. Issues of intimacy and self documentation are now encouraged, as online platforms such as Facebook become more biographical, varied opinions on the realities of authorship are beginning to emerge.
"More and more we find ourselves asking what's going on in the poem and raising questions about where we situate him personally? I suppose that as a culture we have become more relaxed about revealing ourselves, so we have become more relaxed about what we discover about Eliot".
The text is perhaps an evocation of Britain's miasmas between the world wars, it's use of kaleidoscopic phrasing and everyday dialogue allows timezones to merge with other points in a lexicon. Eliot declares that "On Margate sands I can connect nothing with nothing" and we hear how landscape gives form to feeling.
(The Wasteland Extract)
"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
to Carthage then I came
Burning burning burning burning
O Lord Thou pluckest me out
O Lord Thou pluckest
burning." - TS Eliot - The Wasteland
Technology adds complexity to territory, we fly on aircrafts for holidays and use Googlemaps to view the inaccessible. Still, the textural immediacy of locality will always give a vernacular to personal experience.
“Is what you see what I see?”
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