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Art exhibit honors T.S. Eliot poem


In honor of the 100th anniversary of the publication of T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” Las Cruces artist Michael Poncé has created a series of paintings inspired by Eliot’s 1922 poem.

The project is the result of a collaboration with New Mexico State University professor and Philosophy Department Head Timothy Cleveland, who called “The Waste Land” “one of the masterpieces of modernist literature.”

Cleveland had asked Poncé to create cover art for Cleveland’s latest book, “Beyond Words: Philosophy, Fiction, and the Unsayable,” “a crucial section of which is devoted to ‘The Waste Land,’” Cleveland said.

In the process, Poncé created “The Waste Land” series of paintings “that are not only abstract representations and impressions of ‘The Waste Land’ but also Poncé’s own distinctive and original reflections on the legacy of modernism 100 years later,” Cleveland said.

“The Waste Land” exhibit opened Dec. 3, at Poncé Mandrake Fine Art & Botanica studio, 501 E. Hadley Ave.

“The Waste Land,” which is 434 lines long, first appeared in the United Kingdom in the October 1922 issue of “The Criterion,” and in the United States in the November issue of “The Dial.” It was published in book form that December.

Eliot was born Sept. 26, 1888 in St. Louis, Missouri. He became a British citizen in 1927 and died in London Jan. 4, 1965 at the age of 76.

Read the poem at https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Waste_Land.

Contact Cleveland at 575-646-4444. Contact Poncé at michaelponce@hotmail.com.