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Paperback Selected Poems of Ezra Pound Book

ISBN: 0811201627

ISBN13: 9780811201629

Selected Poems of Ezra Pound

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Book Overview

The verse and criticism which he produced during the early years of the twentieth century very largely determined the directions of creative writing in our time; virtually every major poet in England and America today has acknowledged his help or influence. Pound's lyric genius, his superb technique, and his fresh insight into literary problems make him one of the small company of men who through the centuries have kept poetry alive--one of the great...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A good introduction

If you care at all about modern poetry then you have to know something about Ezra Pound. His own poetry is beautiful, lyrical, sometimes mystical, and has a delicate respect for language. In addition he translated much Chinese poetry and produced the best translations of poems in the Catalan language. His influence is virtually endless. He was a very strong influence on T. S. Eliot, W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Hemingway, Hilda Dolittle, Marianne Moore, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, and many more. Yes, personally and politically he was strange to say the least, but this doesn't detract from the sheer artistry of his work. This volume is a reasonable place to start if you aren't familiar with Pound and is also a reasonable volume to keep around for quick review. It contains samples of his Chinese and Catalan translations. There is good selection of his shorter poems and also a substantial sampling of the Cantos, his epic work. Be aware that the design of the book is annoying; no index, no arrangment, no apparent plan of any kind. But after all that you are left with the poetry and you can skip the design questions and read the poems. These poems are not difficult to read, the language is simple and simply beautiful. The rhythms carry you along and then sometimes drop you into understanding. I give this selection 5 stars for the content and take one back for the poor book design. If you are not familiar with Pound read them for your education, if you are familiar with Pound read them for the enduring beauty; but do read them and read them out loud.

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Hard to reconcile Ezra Pound the poet, with such a beautiful sense for the rhythms and melodies of the English language, and so sensitive to his time and place in the literary tradition, with the man who broadcast propaganda for the Italians during the Second World War, whose preference was for the Fascists because of their sense of style. Mishima also comes to mind, with impeccable aesthetics, totalitarian politics. In any case if the politico-poetic schism doesn't bother you, this slim collection is a wonderful introduction to this important Modernist. His Cantos were overreaching and sprawling -- some of the poems here have the glint of lyric perfection. I am especially fond of the Cathay poems, and of those Exile's Letter is my favorite. His translation is crystalline, the words flow like water, of all his poems, translations or otherwise, I feel this is among the most perfect -- not for greatness of idea or emotion, but for its subtlety and lyricism. He reaches such moments in parts of the Pisan Cantos ("What thou lovest well remains, the rest is dross"), but it's a bit funny that he had T.S. Eliot whittle down The Waste Land, but he himself didn't have the discipline to pare down his own work. This might be why his translations (The Seafarer, The River Merchant's Wife) seem to be more anthologized, and considered the more accessible portion of his work -- the limits of these poems were already in place, holding his ambition in check, thus allowing him to concentrate on the language, which he really did so well.

Excellent selection of Pound's poems

This book is a very good introduction to the work of Ezra Pound. There's a little bit of everything! You get some of his earlier, shorter poems, like "In a Station of the Metro," some translations, like "The Seafarer," or "Homage to Sextus Propertius," the famous Mauberley sequence (this book includes both the "original" poem "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley" and Pound's later poem "Mauberley" whereas most books reprint only the earlier poem), and, of course, some of the cantos.I'm pretty sure that Pound made the selections for this edition himself, though the editor adds a few cantos. Ezra Pound's work is exciting and really important for poets writing today. It's impossible to see how we got to where we are now without reading Ezra Pound.

Epitome of Modern Poetry

Reading Ezra Pound is a remarkable experience. I find it amazing how attentive Ezra Pound is when it comes to the 'sound of poetry.' Reading his poems are aesthetically pleasing to the ear. It is consistent with his doctrine, "Behave as a good musician will do" when it comes to poetry. I find his translation of "River-merchant's Wife: A Letter" as one of the greatest highlight in modern poetry, along with many other poem included in this book.

Homage to Sextus Propertius Rules!

I like all the poems here, which vary tremendously in content and date from the beginning to the end of Pound's life. Homage to Sextus Propertius is one of the greatest achievements in poetry during the 20th century. But don't read it without your Webster's dictionary and a classics encyclopedia!
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