Public Sightings

compiled by David Chinitz

Eliot, sort of. On your next visit to Norwich Cathedral, be sure to see the special glass door incorporating a mishmash of lines from Burnt Norton, including misquoted phrases and one line that Eliot never wrote:

Reach out to the silence

at the still point of the turning world.

Except for the still point

there would be no dance.

Love is itself unmoving

only the cause and end of movement are timeless

[photo: Catherine Lee]

Artificial intelligence. Author Stephen Marche, using the pseudonym Aidan Marchine, has published a novella, Death of an Author, whose prose is 95% machine-generated via three AI chatbots. Either Marche or a bot must have a penchant for Eliot, because one passage ends with an obvious knockoff of some famous lines from The Dry Salvages:

We’ll also see stories created specifically for individuals inside their experience, the ability to recreate dead relatives through A.I. technology. Stories where the audience doesn’t even know they’re stories. Characters who are felt so deeply that they aren’t characters at all, but you become the character.

The book, a highly meta murder mystery, also features a literary critic/detective with a name, Gus Dupin—from C. Auguste Dupin in Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”—that Eliot would surely have appreciated. (Aidan Marchine, Death of an Author [Pushkin, 2023])

A line drawn. When Louise Glück died in October 2023, Eliot was a key reference in her obituaries. Most, including those in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Guardian, noted that Glück, in 2020, was the first American poet to win the Nobel Prize for Literature since Eliot in 1948. Some also mentioned that Glück’s Nobel acceptance address had spoken of Eliot as the kind of poet she liked, whose poems were “of intimate selection or collusion” with the reader.

Dried tubers in the Mushroom Kingdom. Reviewing the Super Mario Bros. Movie for the AP, Jake “No-Relation-to-Michael” Coyle begins: “April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. But it is also, if I check the clock, Mario Time. The Super Mario Bros. Movie, with its vistas of primary colors, is here to brighten our dreary springs, T. S. Eliot be damned.” (, 4 Apr. 2023)


  • “Second Aquaman Finishes DCEU Not with a Bang but a Whimper” (Kellen M. Quigley in the Ocean Times Herald, disparaging Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the final film in the DC Extended Universe franchise, 28 Dec. 2023)
  • “Rishi’s Rule Will End with a Whimper, Not a Bang (Patrick O’Flynn in the Spectator, predicting a “Labour landslide,” 23 Dec. 2023)
  • “How the Concept of Marriage Ends: Not with a Bang, but with a Whimper (Daniel Frost in Mercator, arguing that marriage is dissolving into incoherence, 10 Nov. 2023)
  • “Opinion: Synod Ends Not with a Bang, but a Whisper (Celia Wexler on CNN, referring to the Catholic Church’s Synod on Synodality, 31 Oct. 2023)
  • “Not With a Bang but a Whimper: Is This How it Ends for Bill Belichick?” (Scott Stinson on, speculating that the legendary American football coach will lose his 24-year position with the New England Patriots, 19 Nov. 2023. Team and coach parted ways on Jan. 11)

Pinned and wriggling? The Indian actor and director Parambrata Chattopadhyay married Piya Chakraborty in a private ceremony at his home in Kolkata in December 2023. Afterward he posted photos, captioned “Let us go then, you and I / When the evening is spread out against the sky.” He did not go on to quote line 3, but was he implying that he felt like a patient etherised upon a table? (Ruman Ganguly, “Parambrata Ties the Knot with Piya; Quotes T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song…,” Times of India, 27 Nov. 2023)

By John Whittier-Ferguson

John Whittier-Ferguson is Professor of English at the University of Michigan and is the current president of the International T. S. Eliot Society