I thought I was in the clear when Sunday turned out to be 26° C (80° F). Alas, this morning I woke up to a pronounced layer of snow all over everything. This has been, by far, the worst winter in years. I need to move somewhere warmer.
Not much has been brewing since I published “Dusk,” which I found to be entertaining. I’ve been reading Ezra Pound’s “Homage to Sextus Propertius” and “Hugh Selwyn Mauberly.” Apparently, the two are meant to be fitted side-by-side and is done so in Diptych Rome-London. These poems are a bit much for the casual reader, as “Homage” includes a lot of lesser known historical figures such as Sextus Propertius and “Mauberly” uses a ton of imagery. That’s not surprising, as Pound was the developer of Imagism.
There is a very moving section, as noted in the introduction of the book, where Pound strikes hard at the cost of world war.
There died a myriad,
And of the best, among them,
For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
For a botched civilization…
– (“E. P. Ode Pour L’Election de Son Sepulchre, V”, 1-4)
This really puzzles me, as he aided and abetted the Axis powers in the Second World War. One would think he’d remember what it felt like to go through it the first time. Even though I’ve gone through the poems once, I’ll have to read them a few more times to really “get it.” As of right now, I only consider this an “experience” of Pound.
Do we ever really get Pound? No matter how many times I read, I am more confused. Not that that’s bad.
I think the reason why I try to understand Pound is he’s not intentionally deceitful, like Joyce. He’s trying in earnest to share an experience with the reader, but it comes out very obtuse. There’s no denying his output is often confusing.
He’s always been a favorite of mine, even when I don’t get him. I think the Cantos are especially interesting, as there are so few epic poems of that caliber written in modern English (for the most part, anyway). So there’s no mistaking what the poet was trying to say, or at least leaving the reader to interpret.
I think it helps a lot with Pound to know what he was going through at the time. “Homage…” held so many ideas that he was harboring in 1917 that you end up connecting the dots better.
I don’t actually know anything about Pound, although I’ve felt like I ought to as a couple of authors I do like held his writing in esteem, and it’s usually a good policy to read the things that influenced the people who influence you.
That’s a solid way to go about literature. He may or may not be to your liking, but maybe it will provide a different angle with which to view your favorite authors.