A Geographical Tour of Literary America

The Grand Tour of Literary Landmarks resulted from my students' success with another project that we called "Poetic License with THE AMAZING RACE." This new journey also begins and ends in my students' hometown. Chosen writers are specific to our curriculum and texts; however, teachers can adapt new selections to their students' needs. Side images are their original work. Photo images at each destination go directly to official sites or to the slideshows of my own travel photos. The main sources of written material here are www.Poets.org and Adventures in American Literature, Heritage Edition and Pegasus Edition.

St. Louis, Missouri

On the literary map, travel from Red Cloud, Nebraska, to St. Louis, Missouri.


# _____________ Miles to St. Louis, Missouri

$ _____________ Cost for Gasoline to St. Louis, Missouri

Visit Thomas Stearns Eliot at www.Poets.org and fill-in-the-blanks.

"Thomas Stearns Eliot, most dominant figure in poetry and literary criticism in the English-speaking world during his time, was born in Missouri in _______________. T. S. Eliot lived in St. Louis during the first eighteen years of his life and later attended Harvard University."

"In London where he later worked, Eliot came under the influence of his contemporary _________________________, who recognized his poetic genius at once, and assisted in the publication of his work in a number of magazines, most notably 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' in Poetry in ______."

"The poem is an examination of the tortured psyche of the prototypical modern man—overeducated, eloquent, neurotic, and emotionally stilted. Prufrock, the poem’s speaker, seems to be addressing a potential lover, with whom he would like to 'force the moment to its crisis' by somehow making a proposal of love to this woman. Prufrock, however, knows too much of life to 'dare' an approach to the woman. In his mind he hears the comments others make about his inadequacies, and he chides himself for 'presuming' emotional interaction could be possible at all."

"The poem moves from a series of fairly concrete physical settings—a cityscape (the famous 'patient etherised upon a table') and several interiors (women’s arms in the lamplight, coffee spoons, fireplaces)—to a series of vague ocean images conveying Prufrock’s emotional distance from the world as he comes to recognize his second-rate status ('I am not Prince Hamlet’). 'Prufrock' is powerful for its range of intellectual reference and also for the vividness of character achieved."

Read “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

One reason that Eliot’s poem may seem difficult at first is that he uses a stream-of-consciousness technique. What is stream-of-consciousness?

Eliot’s poems are noted for their startling similes and metaphors. List three examples.