Review/Preview (Logopoeia in Shakespeare)


Ezra Pound’s – Literary Essays  (New Directions, 1968) & Louis Zukofsky’s A Test of Poetry (Objectivist Press, 1948 – reprinted Wesleyan University Press, 2000)

AG: What I’ve covered so far in this course, I don’t know if you’ve noticed (because I didn’t notice till I was walking up here tonight) was..I started with some definition by (Ezra) Pound melopoeia (music), phanopoeia.. (phanopoeia – the picture cast in the mind’s eye, melopoeia, the music of the language, and logopoeia, “the dance of intellect among words”). That’s the… so it’s the.. According to (Louis) Zukofsky, his words for the same triad is – “sight, sound, and intellection” (Pound – “phanopoeia, melopoeia, logopoeia” – Zukofsky – “sight, sound and intellection“). Those seem to be the “modernists'” (quote-unquote) classical categories for poetry. And what I’ve been covering, for the most part..

(Well), I began with David Cope‘s poetry (which is mostly sight) and then I went on to Shakespeare’s “When Marian’s nose is red and raw” [“..Marian’s nose looks red and raw”], “And milk comes frozen home in pail”,  “And Dick the shepherd blows his nail” – that was mostly sight. So the first thing that I did when I came in, first lecture, had to do with that element of the picture in the mind’s eye, and I refered to it a few times when I could find any really good example of a lyric poem that has lots of details and fact in it. Then, most of the time, I got hung-up on (the) sound part, and we went into great length on sound – on measurement of the sound, on the notion of cadence. So, the melopoeia.

Now, when you get to Shakespeare’s sonnets, one really interesting thing about them is they’re a brilliant example of logopoeia, the dance of intellect among words -really intelligent, sort of shrewd intelligence and funny intelligence, so that (Jack) Kerouac reading Shakespeare said – quote – “Genius is funny” – unquote, meaning that genius was so intelligent (that) it made you laugh with delight, or you saw it was so intelligent it was dumb! – or, so intelligent that it was raw…raw spirit, raw..raw slyness, slyness in language, slyness, sharpness, (best exemplified so far, in that phrase, which is a logopoeic phrase, “long with love-acquainted eyes”, I think (because that’s beauty so mellow as language and so intelligent as language, so knowing)  So, slyness and knowingness, as well as some, maybe, learned quality in there, of a good ear, to find what words will go together and sound funny and mean a lot. So, for examples of that we get to go to Shakespeare. So that.. so we’ll cover a couple of those (because you’ve already done some. [to class]  Did you do many of the Shakespeare sonnets with Anne (Waldman)?

to be continued

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately eleven-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately fifteen minutes in]

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