The Waste Land at 100: Seeing it Freshly, Making it Ours | Newberry

The Waste Land at 100: Seeing it Freshly, Making it Ours

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

9:30am - 12:30pm

The Newberry Library

Dr. Eric Selinger, DePaul University
Newberry Teachers' Consortium

Few great poems are as hard to teach as T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, not only because the text itself is so elusive (and allusive), but also because it comes to us encrusted by a hundred years of commentary. With explanations of the poem no more than a click away, what reading strategies can we use to help our students encounter the poem freshly? How can we put their puzzlement to use, honoring their frustration—their desire to know “what it all means”—without substituting pre-fab analyses for the active inquiry and personal journey that the poem can offer? (To paraphrase another Eliot poem, how do we keep them from “having the meaning but missing the experience”?) What do we most need to know, as teachers, in order to teach this poem—and what might we need to forget in order to see it freshly ourselves? This seminar will explore ways to teach The Waste Land both quickly and slowly, with and without its historical and biographical contexts, while giving teachers the opportunity to share their own favorite approaches, resources, and classroom practices.

Cost and Registration Information 

Registration for all NTC seminars opens Friday, September 10, 2021 at 8 a.m. (Central Time). Registration instructions and pricing information can be found here. Once open, registration for this seminar will be available through this link. For more information about NTC purchases, please contact Cate Harriman, Teacher & Student Programs Coordinator, at

A link to the assigned pre-readings for the seminars, as well as instructions for accessing virtual seminars, will be distributed to participants via email.

If you believe you are registered for this seminar but have not received an email confirmation or reminder, please contact Teacher Programs staff at