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T. S. Eliot, poet, critic, publisher, was born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1888 and died in London on 4 January 1965.

In 1922 he published The Waste Land, a poem that exerted the single greatest influence on English poetry in the last century and the centenary of which will be marked by publications and events throughout the coming year.

In 1925 Eliot was recruited by Geoffrey Faber to be the literary editor and a director of a new publishing house, Faber and Gwyer (later Faber and Faber). It was a role in which he excelled, going on to establish Faber as a leading publisher of poetry with a list that embraced the outstanding English-language poets of the twentieth century. Eliot received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.

Read the extract:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.