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In 1921 the poet T.S. Eliot spent a few weeks in Margate at a crucial moment in his career. He arrived in a fragile state, physically and mentally, and worked on his poem The Waste Land, a masterpiece of modernism, which was published the following year.

Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’ is a major exhibition exploring the contemporary significance of The Waste Land to the visual arts. It will run at Turner Contemporary from 3 February to 7 May 2018.

Alongside the exhibition, The Waste Land Research Group and Turner Contemporary welcome responses to the poem and T.S.Eliot’s legacy made by artists, community groups and businesses across Margate.

From 1920’s themed performances to jazz concerts to supper clubs, talks and happenings we’re inviting everyone to get inspired and be part of the local programme and mark this unique celebration of T.S. Eliot’s legacy in Margate.

If you would like to plan your own event or activity relating to Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’, we will be producing a listings page for everything Waste Land and T.S Eliot related happening between the 3rd February and the 7th May.

If you would like to have an event or activity listed please email the following information to by 5pm on Sunday 1st October:

  • Title of event/activity
  • Date of event/activity
  • Timings
  • Venue
  • Description of event (150 word max)
  • About you (50 – 100 word bio)
  • Contact details/website/booking info
  • Image (jpg or tiff format) including image credit if required

Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’ will run at Turner Contemporary from 3 February to the 7th May 2018 and will explore how the poem, in being a shifting flow of all manner of voices and references, characters and places, sits in open dialogue with the visual arts. The exhibition is being co-curated by a group of volunteers, The Waste Land Research Group, who formed in 2015 and have been working in collaboration with Turner Contemporary to develop all aspects of the exhibition, from choosing artworks, and designing the exhibition to deciding on content for the public programme.

Summary of ‘The Waste Land’

T. S. Eliot’s landmark modernist poem The Waste Land was published in 1922. Divided into five sections, the poem explores life in London in the aftermath of the First World War, although its various landscapes include the desert and the ocean as well as the bustling metropolis. The poem is notable for its radical style, which fuses different poetic forms and traditions.

Eliot alludes to numerous works of the past including the Bible, Hindu and Buddhist sacred texts, as well as references to Dante, Shakespeare, St Augustine, French poetry, Wagnerian opera, Arthurian legend and the Holy Grail. But the poem is also strikingly modern in its references to jazz music, gramophones, motorcars, typists and tinned food.

Not long after its publication in the same year as Joyce’s Ulysses, The Waste Land became a talking-point among readers, with some critics hailing it as a masterpiece that spoke for a generation of lost souls, and others denouncing it for its ‘difficulty’: the US poet William Carlos Williams disliked it because it “returned us to the classroom”. It continues to generate debate, but its reputation as one of the most influential poems of the twentieth century prevails.

Find out more:

The Waste land App:

The Poetry Foundation:

Posted by: Turner Contemporary on Fri 25 Aug 2017