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Jacob Charles Ptacek <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 30 Mar 2000 00:04:02 -0600
TEXT/PLAIN (46 lines)
        OK, this is going to be another waste of space for those of you
not interested in my pseudo-intellectual wonderings.  I would very much
like to thank everyone that replied to my rather harsh e-mail... In
retrospect, I do not think that I would repeat it...  But you have, for
the most part, given me enormously interesting ideas to think about, and I
would like to extend my sincere appreciation.
        Also, I feel the need to clear up several things that I DID NOT
clear in my hasty ranting about this listserve:  1)  While I am hardly any
sort of expert in Seamus Heaney's poetry, I very much enjoy what I've read
("Station Island," a few collected poems, and the much-debated Beowulf
translation...).  I did not make that clear, and I do apologize.
        2)  I am currently the only student at my university to take Old
English 2, which I find a fascinating, and, yes, beautiful
language... having prepared my own translation of many bits of Beowulf, I
am fully aware of the difficulties engendering that amazing poem into
modern English, having stumbled over nearly all of them myself.
        When I wrote my previous e-mail, I was protesting against what I
thought, at the time, to be rather rambling, off the subject e-mails that
would clutter up my computer...  I say "at the time" because many of you
have made very valid points as to the relation between Pound's work and
the subject under discussion.  So, as regards that, I would like to humbly
withdraw my argument, with many apologies.
        I DO find that there is a lot of disagreement on this listserve,
which I would expect-- but so much of it tends to take the form of rather
personal attacks.  I understand that it's only in the disagreement that
one can prove that any form of literature is still alive, still valid to
our time, and I love that fact... but I was shocked at how bitter the
disagreements can be!
        AS to mysef, I came to Pound after initially reading part of
H.S.M. in an anthology my junior year of high school...   Finding it of
some interest, and knowing that Pound had edited "The Waste Land", a
cherished poem, I checked out "The Cantos" from the public library.  My
first reaction was a string of profanities at finding this completely
incomprhensible book... but then I started reading.  The voice, the
language, the immensity and complexity, and finally the sheer beauty of it
all blew me away.  Even with only partial comprehension of certain
passages, I was amazed.
        Pound is such a mysterious figure to me, and the more I learn, the
more mysterious he gets.  To me, at least, he is one of the most enduring
poets of any time; his poetry itself: moving, beautiful, angry, obscene,
irritating, and in
the end, beautiful again.