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Dirk Johnson <[log in to unmask]>
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- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 13 Jul 2004 09:57:28 -0700
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The exclusion of Blake from "From Confucius to Cummings" represents a
rare instance of prosodic myopia in Pound.  "The Lamb", for instance, as
probably the simplest example relative to Blake, has a more complex and
charming music than virtually anything produced in English in the 18th
Century.  Blake carved out an entirely new direction in English prosody,
clearing a path for Shelley and, by extension, Browning and, by
extension, ...Pound.

Also, throughout the 19th and for most of the 1st half of the 20th
century, Blake's long poems were considered by most critics to be
unreadable jumbles (I don't think anyone has ever said that about the
Cantos... have they?); even "Milton", which has great clarity and
obvious structure, was seen as impenetrable.

But, as Carrol Cox's quotation from Canto XVI seems to indicate (at
least, indicates to me) Pound didn't see Blake as a member of the enemy
camp.  I rather suspect that his focus on other poets and his agenda
caused him to overlook Blake's excellences to some degree.  And, the
combination of the revolutionary nature of Blake's prosodic and
narrative style with the Blake's metaphysical bent likely left Pound
ambivalent toward him.

It may (implied: may not) also be useful to note that by the time of
"From Confucius to Cummings" Blake was being erected as a pillar of
English poetry (a condition that didn't exist at the time of Canto XVI),
and that this erection was largely based upon Blake's metaphysical bent,
producing a lot of speculative gobbledygook.  It would be natural for
Pound to resist Blake's ascension on the basis of such a critical milieu..

Tom White wrote:

>I suspect Blake was a little too "mystical" for Pound, that being another
>word for cranky or uselessly obscure. Anyway I remember from somewhere a
>crack of Pound's to the effect of: you can't expect much from people who
>think rhyming in the vein: "Tiger Tiger catch 'em quick; all the little
>lambs are sick," is great verse. Perhaps a bit unfair? EP did not put
>anything of Blake's in the anthology "From Confucius to Cummings." Tom White
>On 7/12/04 7:50 PM, "James McDougall" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>The fragment of Canto CXVI contains the following line:
>>       Disney against the metaphysicals,
>>and Laforgue more than they thought in him,
>>What does Pound mean? Does Pound ever talk about Disney in any other context?
>>I'm also wondering about Blake. Pound somewhere calls the romantic "Dippy
>>William." Does anyone know where this is from, or whether Pound discusses
>>Blake with any seriousness?
>>Thanks for your help.