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Publisher's Summary

Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4, Jeremy Irons' perceptive reading illuminates the poetry of T. S. Eliot in all its complexity. Major poems range from 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' through the post-war desolation of 'The Waste Land' and the spiritual struggle of 'Ash-Wednesday', to the enduring charm of 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats'.

The Spectator praised Jeremy Irons' interpretation as 'so accessible, reading Eliot as if finding his words for the first time, grappling with them, relishing them, using them to express feelings that we all share as we struggle to accept, to recognise or relinquish'. Dame Eileen Atkins also appears alongside Jeremy Irons in the reading of 'The Waste Land'.

©2015 BBC (P)2016 BBC

Critic Reviews

"For such a major poet, Eliot left a fairly sparse body of work, and all his mature poems are here. And while many consider him to be a fairly austere modernist, these readings by Jeremy Irons bring out the human passion (and sometimes the intellectual passion) that lurks in the poems.... His versions are simply more human, as beautifully crafted as the poems themselves." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Horribly Frustrating to Follow

I love these poems and Jeremy Irons’ interpretation of them, but the Audible version is too frustrating to follow with no chapter titles /- at the very LEAST — identified. I’m so disappointed.

29 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not really an audio book - it’s a radio broadcast

A repeated complaint is that the poems are not identified. It just says “chapter 1, chapter 2...). Given that there are over 70 “chapters” this is annoying. You might just want to hear Wasteland, or a particular cat poem. I wondered why. I’d also tried to find the actual boom that Jeremy Irons was reading from, and couldn’t. There is no identification. At the end of the audio the answer is clear. This isn’t from an actual book, it is a 2015 radio reading Irons did for the BBC.
Irons did a nice job (does everything sound better with a British accent?). But, the absence of chapter titles is a big deal. It will make it unlikely I will return to this audio to brush up on Eliot poetry. Also, for simply being a recording of a radio broadcast, this Audible price ($12 when I bought it) is a rip off.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Finally!

Where does The Poems of T. S. Eliot rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is easily one of my top 5 favorite audiobooks. I've been searching audible for the last year waiting for them to finally make this wonderful performance available.

Which scene was your favorite?

I really enjoyed Macavity the Mystery Cat. It was my first favorite poem and holds a special place in my heart.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I originally heard Jeremy Iron (and Dame Eileen Atkins) read T.S. Eliot on BBC and had tears in my eyes from their performance.

Any additional comments?

My only nick-pick is the very occasional "singing" that happens at moments. It's different than how I read the text, but not off-putting.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Ironsis wonderful but Book is hard to Navigate

Jeremy Irons readings are wonderful. However chapters have been assigned numbers but NO TITLES: consequently a reader cannot go directly to a poem. A puzzling omission since poetry collections of this type (classics) are seldom read (listened to in this case) cover to cover. I hope this deficiency is an oversight that will be rectified. It also would have been nice to include a printable text since at times one wants to read along with Irons. These poems are available with some research but it would have been convenient to have them at hand even for a nominal charge.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

No way to listen to poetry

Jeremy Irons is a masterful interpreter of T.S. Eliot. He gets the sounds and rhythms. He gets the feeling. He plays the poems with the fine instrument of his voice and makes the meaning clear. Why do I give his overall two stars? Because there is no way to navigate among the poems. There are only chapter numbers, not poem titles. You can’t skip a poem, go to a favorite poem, find a poem you want to hear again. This is simply unforgivable. To do a collection of poems properly, the titles of the poems must be the dividers, not meaningless numbers.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Accessible and enjoyable....

Jeremy Irons narration is so spot on... to the tone, tenor and feel of T.S. Elliot's poetry that I re-listened to many of the poems.
Yes, it takes a bit of life experience to enjoy Elliot and yes, he writes from his time and from his insights and passions, but much of good literature and poetry takes some care and attention to digest..... still, it is so good the soul. Your life is richer for taking the time while driving in the car, in the kitchen, in the garage, out on a walk or sitting in a good chair by the fireplace. I strongly recommend this audible book. I have 200 plus audible books and this one ranks in my top 10.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

DEVASTATINGLY BEAUTIFUL

Both TS Eliot and Jeremy Irons are great immortal favorites of mine, and the pairing of their talents is unparalleled. Refracted through the dazzling, prismatic performance of Irons, Eliot's abstract modernist verses shine, and filled with the light of Eliot's verses, Irons is entirely illuminated, vivid and achingly lovely as a stained glass window. I cannot recommend this collection enough to those who are passionate about great poetry and enthralled by wondrous, rolling performances of marvelous verses.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent read. Very well done and entertaining.

Mr Irons brings a wonderful version of theae poems. Highly recommend this version of Elliot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing reading.

Eliot's language is entrancing. Irons' reading is art in itself.

Together they create a powerful atmosphere.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Discovering Eliot's poetry in the NOW.

Unquestionably for this lover and scholar of T S Eliot, Jeremy Irons's readings are extraordinary. His voice makes the words sound as if they are new, coming to life in the present, not being read or recited.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter Clinch
  • 06-12-18

I hope this helps........

POEMS OF T.S.ELIOT
Read by Jeremy Irons

Prufrock and other Observations 1917
1/ The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
2/ Portrait of a Lady
3/ Preludes
4/ Rhapsody on a Windy Night
5/ Morning at the Window
6/ The ‘Boston Evening Transcript’
7/ Aunt Helen
8/ Cousin Nancy
9/ Mr. Apollinax
10/ Hysteria
11/ Conversation Galante
12/ La Figlia Che Piange

Poems, 1920
13/ Gerontion
14/ Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar
15/ Sweeney Erect
16/ A Cooking Egg
17/ The Hippopotamus.
18/ Whispers of Immortality
19/ Mr Eliot’s Sunday Morning Service
20/ Sweeney Among the Nightingales

The Waste Land. 1922
21/ The Burial of the Dead
22/ A Game of Chess
23/ The Fire Sermon
24/ Death by Water
25/ What the Thunder Said
——
26/The Hollow Men. 1925

Ash-Wednesday. 1930
27/ Because I do not hope to turn again
28/ Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree
29/ At the first turning of the second stair
30/ Who walked between the violet and the violet
31/. If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
32/ Although I do not hope to turn again

Ariel Poems
33/ Journey of the Magi, 1927
34/ A Song for Simeon. 1928
35/ Animula, 1929
36/ Marina, 1930
37/ The Cultivation of Christmas Trees 1954

The Four Quartets
38/ Burnt Norton 1935
39/ “”. II
40/. “” III
41/. “”. IV
42/ “”. V
43/ East Coker 1940
44/ “”. II
45/ “”. III
46/ “”. IV
47/ “”. V
48/ The Dry Salvages. 1941
49/ “”. II
50/ “”. III
51/ “”. IV
52/ “”. V
53/ Little Giddings. 1942
54/ “”. II
55/ “”. III
56/ “”. IV
57/ “”. V

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats
58/ The Naming of Cats
59/ The Old Gumbie Cat
60/ Growltiger’s Last Stand
61/ The Rum Tum Tugger
62/ The Song of the Jellicles
63/ Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer
64/ Old Deuteronomy
65/ The Pekes and the Pollicles
66/ Mr. Mistoffeles
67/ Macavity: the Mystery Cat
68/ Gus: the Theatre Cat
69/ Bustopher Jones: the Cat about Town
70/ Skimbleshanks: the Railway Cat
71/ The Ad-dressing of Cats
72/ Cat Morgan Introduces Himself

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



24 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kirk McElhearn
  • 04-24-18

A great recording marred by crappy metadata

Any additional comments?

This is a wonderful recording of some of the greatest poetry of the 20th century. But, as often, Audible ruins it with crappy metadata. How do I know which poem is Chapter 1, or Chapter 2, and so on? If I want to find specific poems - such as the Four Quartets - how do I find them? This is simply contempt for listeners. I feel cheated.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sean Kiely
  • 04-30-18

One Of The Greatest Recordings Of A Great Poet

Jeremy Irons understands the music in Eliot's poetry like no other reader I have heard, Including the poet himself. This is an outstanding recording and I recommend it enthusiastically.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Colin Brodie
  • 06-27-18

Very good, but...

Excellent narration, but no index with poem titles. This means that one is unable to select a piece by title.

Another gripe is that there is too short a pause after each piece, giving no time for reflection or contemplation.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christian
  • 05-27-18

Fantastic... :-)

In my view this is one of the best audiobooks I have ever enjoyed. Jeremy Irons reading T. S. Eliot is really as good as it gets. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Pia Horan-Gross
  • 09-22-18

It was over all too quickly!

Just brilliant! Jeremy Irons is simply the best! T.S. Eliot has always inspired me. We have a love of cats in common! !

1 of 1 people found this review helpful