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Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Steve Conger <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 30 Jan 1998 13:46:09 -0800
Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
TEXT/PLAIN (88 lines)
I've been following the recent discussions with some interest. I too came
across Pound in High School and became an instant fanatic. I don't
remember him being in any school curriculum. I was a big fan of Yeat's and
Eliot. It was their references to him that led me to special order a copy
of the Cantos. (Just as later it was Pound's dedications that led me to
Zukofsky and Bunting and for that matter WCW and HD). At Gonzaga, my
professors indulged, even if they didn't quite understand, my interest in
Pound. In Graduate school at the University of Idaho I had the good
fortune of attending a semester long course on Pound led by Daniel
Pearlman. I am no longer 20 or 30 something, but that is when I was most
involved. I must also admit I almost never encounter anyone anymore who
even knows who Pound is. That may reflect more the circles I travel in
than the state of Pound studies.
I recently reread the Cantos. It was about my eight time completely
through, but the first time in several years. As I did, I tried to access
what about Pound had (and to some extent still does) fascinate me so. For
one thing the Poetic craft.  I am a poet and Pound has always served as an
education on the possibilities of poetic line and form. For another, it is
his pagan, elusinian sense of the sacred. His reverence for the earth,
particularly in the late Cantos, strikes me as modern equivalents of the
homeric hymns. Third, is the scorn with which he observes the rise of
modern consumer economies.
But, another source of the fascination is how someone with such poetic
Intellegence can be so dull on some levels; how someone of such delicate
sensibilites can be so insensitive; how someone who sees the smallest
natural details--the waterbug's mittons--can be so blind.
I have to confess as I get older, his prejudices and bombasts bother me
more. Enough for this post.
= Steve Conger                      =
= [log in to unmask]        =
= Seattle Central Community College =
= Seattle WA                        =
= Phusis kruptesthai philei         =
On Wed, 28 Jan 1998, William Cole wrote:
> On Tue, 27 Jan 1998, Erin Templeton wrote:
> >         I hardly think that the reason younger scholars and stdents of
> > literature have "hardly even heard of [Pound]" is because the Cantos aren't
> > available on the Web.  While electronic access might be convenient, it isn't
> > preventing students and aspiring scholars from reading EP.  Perhaps a more
> > likely reason is his conspicuous absence from the classroom--whether because
> > his poetry is "too difficult" or because many instructors find his politics
> > distasteful or inappropriate for the classroom.  As an undergraduate, I was
> > always curious about Pound, but never got the chance to read him.  It wasn't
> > until my second semester of graduate school that I found his work on a
> > syllabus, and even still, I find that the pre-dominant attitude among
> > professors and students is one of grudging appreciation--yes, he was an
> > important figure, but his poetry is difficult to understand and often  best
> > left to interested individuals with lots of free time and additional
> > references.  Availability of texts, in my opinion, isn't the problem--it's
> > Pound's troubled position within the institution.
> As another 20-almost-30-nothinger, I'll second Erin's observations. A lot
> of academics just don't want to deal with Pound, especially when it comes
> to the politics. Comments I've heard in my academic career (quotations
> somewhat approximate):
> "Social credit was an idea Pound got from Wyndham Lewis, who was a
> fascist." (End of that topic)
> "Who was that mentor of Eliot's who loved Mussolini?" (meaning Pound).
> I think Pound, despite his difficulty, can be friendlier to non-academics,
> especially by way of his often delightfully irreverent prose (I found
> solace in the ABC of Economics during a bad unemployed period between grad
> programs).
> Back to lurk mode.
> --WC
> __________________________________________________________________
> William Cole                        <[log in to unmask]>
> Dept. of English
> University of Georgia
> "A sound poetic training is nothing more that the science of being
> discontented." --Ezra Pound