By Flapper Press Poetry Café:
The Flapper Press Poetry Café continues a new series of articles about favorite lines of poetry and the poets who wrote them. We’re reaching out to poets, writers, and lovers of poetry to submit their favorite lines of poetry and tell us why you love them.
Check out our submission guidelines and send us your favorites!
We'll feature your submission sometime this year on our site!
This week, our submission comes from poet Riemke Ensing.
From Riemke Ensing:
Recently I have been coming back to poems I was introduced to mostly at Teachers’ Training College, Ardmore, when I was about 17 (I’m now 84).
One lecturer (Geoff Ryan) was immersed in the Russians, and my first lecture in English Literature there was taken by John Melser, who later moved to New York.
He was dressed in the usual corduroys with suede shoes. He stood (sort of lounged) against the doorway of the lecture room and flipped open a book that he took from the back pocket of his trousers.
He read and read and read for the duration of the lecture. The whole class was spellbound. I don’t think many of us made any sense of what he read, but it was gorgeous. Such an amazing voice.
At the end, he closed the book and with a slightly disdainful toss of the head said to us, "T. S. ELIOT. GO READ.” And we did.
A group of us (some of us still in touch) got Eliot from the library, sat on the grass outside, and read the Four Quartets for the rest of the day and into the night and the next days.
We were immersed and overwhelmed. "The Dry Salvages" particularly stood out for me, and my copy of the book (still from that time) is heavily annotated.
A part I particularly like is from "Little Gidding" towards the end.
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
About T. S. Eliot:
A renowned poet and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, T. S. Eliot’s achievements as poet and literary critic abound. His most notable works, The Waste Land, Four Quartets, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (most famously adapted into the long-running Broadway musical Cats) along with a lifetime’s worth of literary criticism and poetic achievements, are considered milestones in American literature, despite the controversy surrounding the poet’s anti-Semitic views.
To read more about T. S. Eliot:
Poetry by T.S. Eliot:
Riemke Ensing is a poet who has distinctively synthesised European and New Zealand influences. Born in Groningen, Netherlands, in 1939, with her parents she immigrated to New Zealand at the age of twelve in 1951. At this stage of her life, she spoke no English. She went to school first in Dargaville, then to Ardmore Teachers’ Training College, after which she taught for two years, returning to the College to lecture in English literature for a year. She again became a fulltime student, and on graduating M.A. (Hons) in 1967 was appointed as a tutor in the English Department at the University of Auckland, where she taught till 1999. She has since been appointed an Honorary Research Fellow (Faculty of Arts), and in 2002 was a Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellow. Her poetry is represented extensively in anthologies, and her work has appeared in many publications, both in New Zealand and overseas.
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