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Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Jonathan Morse <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 8 Jun 1999 17:20:26 -1000
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Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
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1. Language poet Ron Silliman writes to the Buffalo poetics list:
>For a weird little reading experience,
>folks who want to see how badly 20th century poetry can be misinterpreted
>are directed to:
>which is the site for a very strange little article on Pound
>by someone who truly hates The Cantos and everything such verse bred.
>He suggests that their motivation is simply Joyce envy.
2. I don't know the specific source of David Centrone's quotation from XC,
"'From the colour the nature
                        & by the nature the sign!"
But the general provenance would be the mystical principle known as the
Doctrine of Signatures: the idea that the world is a single coherent code
message from God in which every phenomenon (such as color) is a signifier.
That principle underlay much of western medicine right up to the nineteenth
century. All those doctors in Hawthorne's works, for instance, spend their
time looking for plants that look like various body organs, because it was
assumed that if God had sent you a diseased liver He would also have sent
you the liverwort to cure it. Hence, maybe, the expression of concord at
the end of the canto: "UBI AMOR IBI OCULUS EST."
At any rate, I'm learning from the _Letters in Captivity_ just how right
Leon Surette has been about the general Yeatsian loopiness of Pound's
metaphysics, and how literally Pound took it all. All that olibanum ignited
to Apollo!
Jonathan Morse
Department of English, University of Hawaii