On this day in 1888 T. S. Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He was a longstanding contributor to the Sewanee Review, publishing his first piece in the magazine—an essay titled “What is Minor Poetry?”—in 1945. He continued to publish with the Sewanee Review until his death.
After his death in 1965, the Sewanee Review’s entire Winter 1966 number was devoted to him. This unique issue, which was guest edited by Allen Tate, includes essays and remembrances by Ezra Pound, C. Day Lewis, Conrad Aiken, and Cleanth Brooks. You can find a copy of the issue online at JSTOR.
“One dies every day one’s own death, but one cannot imagine the death of a man who was [the maestro]. To see his maestro, Dante had to ‘lift his eyelids a little higher,’ and that was what I knew, after January fourth, I had been doing in the thirty-six years of an acquaintance that almost imperceptibly became friendship. I looked up to him.” —Allen Tate, from “Postscript by the Guest Editor” (SR Winter 1966)
"But when our reservations have all been made, we accept The Waste Land as one of the most moving and original poems of our time. It captures us.” —Conrad Aiken, from “An Anatomy of Melancholy” (SR Winter 1966)
"Am I to write ‘about’ the poet Thomas Stearns Eliot? or my friend ‘the Possum’? Let him rest in peace. I can only repeat, but with the urgency of 50 years: READ HIM." —Ezra Pound, from "For T. S. E." (SR Winter 1966)