Young Obama Gets Good Grades on TS Eliot
Scholars think his long-ago analysis was on the mark: Politico
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2012 1:50 PM CDT
This undated black-and-white file photo shows Obama while a student of Harvard Law School.   (AP Photo/Obama Presidential Campaign, file)

(Newser) – The Vanity Fair excerpt of a Barack Obama biography includes a young Obama musing about TS Eliot. Politico collects reactions of the president as poetry critic, not pretentious boyfriend, and he gets pretty good grades:

  • Former poet laureate Donald Hall: “If we talked about The Waste Land together when he was 22, we might disagree about some things. But insofar as he alludes to it here, there’s nothing that seems to me mistaken or untoward or indefensible.”

  • Eliot scholar Lawrence Rainey: "He makes a sophisticated and astute analysis, one that shows an adventurous mind searching for ways to make sense of materials he’s only recently encountered. He is bold in trying out daring juxtapositions.”
  • Bill Kristol, Weekly Standard: “I’m pretty impressed. He seems to have understood The Waste Land better than I did as a 22-year-old."
Click for the full article, which includes a conservative professor's view that "young Obama was attracted to the political extremes."