Pound, Ezra. (1885 - 1972).
W o r k
- a poet, literary critic, social critic, translator, and literary entrepreneur
- began to transform English literatura immediately after his moving to London = ‘the place for poetry’ (1908)
- exported the modernist revolution to America: a corresponding editor for Harriet Monro’s Chicago-based Poetry
- founded the Imagist movement: insisted on the ‘luminous detail’ (his “In a Station of the Metro”: an unexplained juxtaposition = the immediacy of reality)
- founded the Vorticist movement: inspired by the pictographical characters of the Chinese poetry, insisted on the concept of poetry as a succession of these ‘concrete pictures’
- attempted to aid D. H. Lawrence, J. Joyce, T. S. Eliot, W. C. Williams, R. Frost, E. Hemingway, & others, also edited T. S. Eliot’s Waste Land
- adopted traditional forms and rendered them in a new way: not to break with the past x but: to modernise the past, ‘make it new’
- claimed a poem must be vitally alive x but: his early poetry often lapsed into ‘literaryism’
< influenced by the literary traditions of the classics, the medieval Europe, the ancient Chinese haiku, and the 18th century America
- made F. M. Fox roll on the floor in mock horror at its ‘literaryism’
- possibly his finest collection
- a translation from Chinese
Hugh Selwyn Mauberley: Life and Contacts (1920):
- a reaction to the death of his friend, the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Bryeska, at the WW I front; calls the ‘civilisation’ ‘an old bitch’
- an epic to bridge the ancient x modern cultures
- a long, unending, and encyclopaedic poem in open form and free verse
- includes all from personal anecdotes to literary allusions: employs the technique of cryptic, fragmented, and highly allusive references
- concentrates on a sentence, avoids the narrative structure, and proves himself an obscure and never boring master of the modern language
<=> parallel to W. Whitman (= ‘the pig-headed father’ of his “Pact”):
(a) spent the bulk of his career on a long poem in the Whitmanesque tradition (Cantos)
(b) Cantos <=> W.’s “Song of Myself”: contain multitudes of ideas, insights, characters, events, etc., etc.
The Pisan Cantos:
- composed as a prisoner in an American camp for the prisoners of war in Italy at the end of WW II
(Photo: Alvin Langdon Coburn. 1913. Source: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorEzra (Weston Loomis) Pound. (1885 - 1972). American.
WorkPoet. Critic. Promoter of Modernism. Author of Cantos.
GenresModernism. Imagism. Vorticism.
Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.
Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.
Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1994.
McQuade, Donald, gen.ed. The Harper American Literature. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.
Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.
Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.
"A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness".
From "Warning" in ABC of Reading (1934).