This is one of the better-known poems in the English language. Here I perform it with some music and female voice-work from Sherry Thompson. Wikipedia says: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, commonly known as “Prufrock”, is a poem by American-British poet T. S. Eliot (1888–1965). Eliot began writing “Prufrock” in February 1910, and it was first published in the June 1915 issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse[2] at the instigation of Ezra Pound (1885–1972). It was later printed as part of a twelve-poem pamphlet (or chapbook) titled Prufrock and Other Observations in 1917. At the time of its publication, Prufrock was considered outlandish, but is now seen as heralding a paradigmatic cultural shift from late 19th-century Romantic verse and Georgian lyrics to Modernism. The poem is regarded as the beginning of Eliot’s career as an influential poet.

The poem’s structure was heavily influenced by Eliot’s extensive reading of Dante Alighieri and makes several references to the Bible and other literary works—including William Shakespeare’s plays Henry IV Part II, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet, the poetry of seventeenth-century metaphysical poet John Donne, and the nineteenth-century French Symbolists. Eliot narrates the experience of Prufrock using the stream of consciousness technique developed by his fellow Modernist writers. The poem, described as a “drama of literary anguish”, is a dramatic interior monologue of an urban man, stricken with feelings of isolation and an incapability for decisive action that is said “to epitomize frustration and impotence of the modern individual” and “represent thwarted desires and modern disillusionment.” Prufrock laments his physical and intellectual inertia, the lost opportunities in his life and lack of spiritual progress, and he is haunted by reminders of unattained carnal love. With visceral feelings of weariness, regret, embarrassment, longing, emasculation, sexual frustration, a sense of decay, and an awareness of mortality, “Prufrock” has become one of the most recognised voices in modern literature.”

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Edit, 3/17/16: This is the first collaboration I’ve done in a while, and I think it turned out well. When doing voice-work, there’s always a concern about doing the opposite-sex voices, especially for me since I don’t do accents well at all. For this one, I was able to use the female voice (of Sherry Thompson​) to make some artistic choices within the performance of Eliot’s famous poem. Pretty cool to my ear, but not gaining any traction on YouTube. Oh wells. You always want your creative output to provide a lot of value to a lot of people, but in my experience, that’s pretty rare. Well, there’s always the next project, and the next project, and the next project….

Posted by Frank Marcopolos

Frank Marcopolos is a former paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division and NCAA baseball player turned literary fiction author and audiobook narrator. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, he now lives in Texas. He produces free audiobooks of public domain works on his YouTube channel. Subscribe here: http://youtube.com/brooklynfrank