"It is self-evident that St. Louis affected me more deeply than any other environment has ever done. I feel that there is something in having passed one's childhood beside the big river, which is incommunicable to those people who have not. I consider myself fortunate to have been born here, rather than in Boston, or New York, or London." - T.S. Eliot. Eliot is one of St. Louis's most famous sons and yet there is little recognition of his contributions to the American literary arts in St. Louis. It's about time we change that.
One of America's most prominent and accomplished poets grew up as a sickly youth in St. Louis, and his creative genius is derived from that experience. I propose a memorial to T.S. Eliot and his body of work coupled with a general museum dedicated to the St. Louis literary arts, including a lounge/coffee/drink area for weekly poetry reading, open mic sessions, creative writing workshops, and help on self-publishing and/or getting hooked up with a literary agent. Other ideas include an annual scholarship to one St. Louis-area student majoring in the literary arts, an annual publication of the best works developed through the center, annual awards, etc. Not only would we highlight Eliot's connection to St. Louis, but we would simultaneously promote the liberal arts in St. Louis by encouraging and recognizing the work done here.