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A selection of the most significant and enduring poems from one of the twentieth century’s major writers, chosen and introduced by Vijay Seshadri, performed by T.S. Eliot, Vijay Seshadri, Daniel Halpern, Willem Dafoe, Natasha Trethewey, Meghan O'Rourke, Natalie Diaz, Frank Bidart,  Joy Harjo, Rosanna Warren, Emily Jungmin Yoon, Tracy K. Smith, Nicole Sealey, Jorie Graham, Kevin Young, Louise Glück, Eileen Myles, Carol Muske-Dukes, Campbell McGrath, Robert Hass, and Monica Youn.

T.S. Eliot was a towering figure in twentieth century literature, a renowned poet, playwright, and critic whose work—including “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915), The Waste Land (1922), Four Quartets (1943), and Murder in the Cathedral (1935)—continues to be among the most-read and influential in the canon of American literature. 

The Essential T.S. Eliot collects Eliot’s most lasting and important poetry in one career-spanning audiobook, with an introduction from Vijay Seshadri, one of our foremost poets.


Introduction by Vijay Seshadri: Vijay Seshadri

La Figlia che Piange: T.S. Eliot

Portrait of a Lady: Daniel Halpern

Preludes: T.S. Eliot

Rhapsody on a Windy Night: Meghan O'Rourke

Mr. Apollinax: Natalie Diaz

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: Frank Bidart

Gerontion: Joy Harjo

Dans le Restaurant: Rosanna Warren

Whispers of Immortality: Emily Jungmin Yoon

The Waste Land: Willem Dafoe and Tracy K. Smith

The Hollow Men: Nicole Sealey

Ash Wednesday: Jorie Graham

Marina: Kevin Young

Journey of the Magi: Louise Gluck

Coriolan: Eileen Myles

Choruses from “The Rock”: I, III, IV, VII: Carol Muske-Dukes (III, VII) and Natasha Trethewey (I, IV)

Old Deuteronomy: Campbell McGrath

Sweeney Agonistes: Vijay Seshadri and Rosanna Warren

From Four Quartets: Burnt Norton; Little Gidding: Robert Hass

Tradition and Individual Talent: Monica Youn

Text from Collected Poems, 1909-1962:Copyright 1930, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1963 by T.S. Eliot; Copyright 1954, 1956, 1959, 1963 by Thomas Stearns Eliot; Copyright renewed 1958, 1962, 1964 by Thomas Stearns Eliot; Copyright 1934, 1936 by Harcourt Brace & Company; Copyright 1948 by Faber & Faber Limited; Copyright renewed 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1982, 1984, 1991 by Esme Valerie Eliot; Text from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats: Copyright 1939 by T.S. Eliot; Copyright renewed 1967 by Esme Valerie Eliot.

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About the Author

Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888–1965) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and became a British subject in 1927. The acclaimed poet of The Waste Land, Four Quartets, and Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, among numerous other poems, prose, and works of drama, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. He recast twentieth-century English poetry with a new vocabulary of technique, giving voice to a bold, vibrantly original Modernist style. In addition to his poetry, his body of work includes many landmark critical essays, as well as plays. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

About the Narrators

Natalie Diaz, the founder of the Twiniversity website and director of the Manhattan Twins Club, has been featured widely in the media. She lives in New York City with her husband and their fraternal twins.

Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee Creek Nation and who was named United States Poet Laureate in 2019. In 2020, she was named US Poet Laureate for a second term. She is the author of eight books of poetry and a memoir, Crazy Brave. Her many honors include the Jackson Poetry Prize, the Ruth Lilly Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Josephine Miles Poetry Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, an Oklahoma Tulsa Artist Fellow, and the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award.

Emily Jungmin Yoon is the author of Ordinary Misfortunes, the 2017 winner of the Sunken Garden Chapbook Prize by Tupelo Press. Yoon was born in Busan, Republic of Korea and received her BA at the University of Pennsylvania and MFA in Creative Writing at New York University. She has been the recipient of awards and fellowships from Ploughshares’ Emerging Writer’s Contest, AWP’s WC&C Scholarship Competition, and the Poetry Foundation, among others. Her poems and translations have appeared in publications including The New Yorker, POETRY, The New York Times Magazine, and Korean Literature Now. She currently serves as the Poetry Editor for The Margins, the literary magazine of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and is a PhD student studying Korean literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago.

Willem Dafoe is an award-winning film, stage, and voice actor. He has starred in such films as Platoon, Shadow of the VampireThe English Patient, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Spider-Man, The Boondock Saints, and numerous others. He can also be heard as the voice of Rat in Fantastic Mr. Fox and as Gill in Finding Nemo.

Tracy K. Smith is the twenty-second Poet Laureate of the United States and recipient of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for Life on Mars. Duende, her second book, received the 2006 James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Jorie Graham is the author of twelve collections of poetry, including The Dream of the Unified Field, which won the Pulitzer Prize. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she teaches at Harvard University. The recipient of numerous awards, including the Pulitzer, the Forward Prize, and the International Nonino Prize, Graham’s work is widely translated.

Kevin Young is the author of a books nonfiction and several books of poetry, including Blue Laws, which was long-listed for the National Book Award. He is the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

Eileen Myles is the author of more than twenty volumes of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, libretti, plays, and performance pieces over the last three decades. Their books include Chelsea Girls and I Must Be Living Twice: New & Selected Poems 1975–2014. Their many honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction, an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital Art Writers’ Grant, a Lambda Book Award, the Clark Prize for Excellence in Art Writing, and the Shelley Prize from the Poetry Society of America. They teach at New York University and Naropa University.

Natasha Trethewey is a former US poet laureate and the author of five collections of poetry, as well as a book of creative nonfiction. She is currently the Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. In 2007 she won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her collection Native Guard.

Campbell McGrath is the author of several books. He has received numerous prestigious awards for his poetry, including a MacArthur Foundation grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has been published in the New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, the Paris Review, the New Yorker, Poetry, and Ploughshares, among other prominent publications, and his poetry is represented in dozens of anthologies. He teaches in the MFA program at Florida International University.

Robert Hass is an acclaimed, award-winning American poet. He was poet laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997. He has won the National Book Award, and he shared the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for the collection Time and Materials: Poems 1997–2005. In 2014 he was awarded the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. He has also co-translated several volumes of poetry with Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz and authored or edited several other volumes of translation. His essay collection Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry received the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has served as chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. He teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.

Orlagh Cassidy, an American actress of stage, television, and film, is an audiobook narrator who has twice won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration, as well as many AudioFile Earphones Awards. She is a graduate of SUNY at Purchase and a recipient of the Princess Grace Foundation Scholarship. She has been seen on and off Broadway and in films, including Definitely Maybe and Calling It Quits. Her television credits include roles in Law & Order and Sex and the City and as Doris Wolfe on Guiding Light. She has done voice work for commercials in which she is probably best known for her role as the mom in the “BFF Jill” spots for AT&T.