Pound, Waller and The Wonder Breath

[“Oh!” ( the mouth open-wide, a “wonder-breath” – “Ah! – “Go!” – (Allen Ginsberg & Peter Orlovsky re Ezra Pound & Edmund Waller) – 1979 – Photograph by Desdemone Bardin]
AG: Well, if you..   I ‘d like to read that whole thing [Ezra Pound’s “Envoi“] once in..  just through, to get the variance from one stanza to another, because it seems that it’s surging, a very delicate surge from stanza to stanza that really concludes in a nice way – and it’s great music. In fact, why don’t we do it together?   this one.. … why don’t … Read More

Pound and Waller (“Go dumb-born book”)

[Ezra Pound]
[Edmund Waller]
AG: Then (Ezra) Pound (on page one thousand and six). He thinks it [Waller’s “Song”} ‘s so good that it’s his high-water mark, so he wants a... And, in Pound, it’s amazing, it’s one of the few cases in the history of English poetry where somebody made an imitation that’s really just as good as the original, because Pound’s “Envoi” of 1919 is actually as beautiful, I think, as the Waller [“Go, lovely rose] –
So “Go dumb-born book’ – but was..  it.. you know..  Pound’s specialty was this long.. was quantitative meter,
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More on Metrics – 4

AG:  Well, so we have “Go lovely..” and I was thinking – “Tell her that wastes her time and me” – “Tell her that wastes” (da da da da)  – “her time and me” – “Tell her that wastes her time and me”  – seems to be two halves, equally cadenced –  “Tell her that wastes her time and me” – and that would be da da da-da – That’s the epitritus tertius – “Tell her that wastes her time and me.”   If you were going to emphasize the more… not so much.. if you were going to be dwelling
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More on Metrics – 3

AG: Well, it’s not that that you need to be able to understand it [Greek prosody] to write a poem. It’s not perverting your speech to get those rhythms. Rather, it is that speech does have those rhythms, and that you can follow the cadences with those rhythms, that when we were taught in drama-school and high-school primary rhythms, it was very rare that anything was taught beyond the four variants of iamb, trochee, anapest and dactyl.  – that seemed to be the range of  the English ear, or awareness of rhythm, or American high-school awareness of rhythm, … Read More

More Observations on Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound died 45 years ago today in Venice, Italy. He is buried  in the Cimitero di San Michele (along with other twentieth-century icons – Sergei Diaghilev, Igor Stravinsky..)

Allen, from his recollection, of a conversation, in the restaurant of the Pensione Cici in Venice, some five years earlier:

“The intention was bad – that’s the trouble – anything I’ve done has been an accident – any good has been spoiled by my intentions – the preoccupation with irrelevant and stupid things -” Pound said this quietly, rusty voiced like an old child, looked directly in my … Read More

Ezra Pound’s Birthday

October 30, the anniversary of the birthday of the forever-controversial, impossible-to-dispense-with Ezra Pound. There’s a new book coming out (it appeared in the UK earlier this year), focusing on Pound’s long post-World War II incarceration at St Elizabeth’s  – Daniel Swift’s The Bughouse – The Poetry, Politics and Madness of Ezra Pound.

Typically, it has elicited some “mixed” reviews.  Robert McCrum in The Guardian found it “enthralling”  but “sometimes awkward”,  (noting Swift’s “idiosyncratic biographical analysis that marries lit crit and memoir”)  Mark Ford, in the same newspaper, was more damning -(“Pound’s arraignment for treason and spell in a psychiatric hospital … Read More

Allen Ginsberg – Ars Poetica – Dallas Texas 1980 – Joe Stanco Interview

Following on from last weekend, and complimentary to an earlier tape that we featured (from Richmond College, Dallas Texas), another video gem from the Stanford Archives – Ars Poetica – An Interview with Allen Ginsberg conducted by Joe Stanco

[The participants begin, caught in conversation, in media res]

JS: Oh. – My name is Joe Stanco and I’m talking today with Allen Ginsberg and, at the moment, we were discussing Ezra Pound who’s certainly..in fact you said, at one point, “the most important American poet since Whitman

AG: I guess. Yeah. Well… (Because ) he had more effect … Read More

Vowels and Music – (Poundian Poetics)

continuing with Allen’s commentary in his 1980 Basic Poetics Naropa class on Ezra Pound’s Manifest”

AG: I was talking about it [about “melodic coherence” and Hart Crane’s “Atlantis”].  There’s partly some element of cadence – da da da da-da da da da –da – “O Thou steeled Cognizance whose leap commits” – that’s the rhythmic cadence.   So melodic cadence of those vowels – “encintured sing/ In single chrysalis” – “encintured sing/ In single chrysalis” – that’s melodic coherence – That make sense? Mel-o-dy? tune-al coherence

And “of the tone-leading of the vowels” -. “tone-leading of the vowels”  (… Read More

Ezra Pound and “The Duration of Syllables”

[Ezra Pound (1885-1972)]

“If the verse makers of our time are to improve on their immediate precursors we must be vitally aware of the duration of syllables of melodic coherence, and of the tone leading of the vowels” (Ezra Pound)

AG: So now what is this?. “The duration of syllables” he (Pound) understands, how.. – (understands) long and short syllables – the idea of it. So he’s saying America should then try to begin to hear the difference between a long and short syllable.  In another place, he says that he thinks the direction of American poetry will be in … Read More

Ezra Pound’s Manifest

[Ezra Pound, Allen Ginsberg and Fernanda Pivano, Portofino, September 23, 1967 Photo: Ettore Sottsass]

AG: So here’s another comment on it (“To Mr Henry Lawes And His Airs”) – and then I’m comparing that with a little thing I saw copied out – “A Preface to Poems by Basil Bunting 1950, from the Cleaners Press, Galveston, Texas”, a brief essay by Ezra Pound which is also lost in leaves of history, never been reprinted, called “A Manifest As of 1950”, signed by a guy named Dallan Flynn, because, I think that Ezra Pound was by then … Read More