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2015/08/29

notes toward pound joyce and


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Ezra pound's ear is not to be trusted
as the same ear misheard
Milton ______________________________(now an irony presents itself because I have told  people time and again  they will write better ifthey read Ezra Pound __ yet his ear's judgement errs when it comes to the poet of Paradise Lost __ How's that? _how does it about that one of the sharpest 'Ears'of his generation  was not keen for Milton'Sound ___ it's not complex really ___Milton's necessary  aesthetics did not match Pound's so the latter had to be against the former ~_ Pound had similarly mixed feelings toward Whitman but did come around to some extent  but  _ with Milton this never was the case) 



  and because of this:


Pound___ lacked the objectivity (caught up as he was in the fight to forge his own objectivity)

to stand back
from what he
thought he understood of Milton.  a well known example being 
 the comment on p 50-1 ABC of reading)  EP refers
to this phrase from the epic   ~


'Him who disobeys Me disobeys,' (PL book 5) Pound calls it bad writing and goes then and tries to 'translate' it as it were into 'good writing.'  missing the point completely  ~ he translates into prose and reduces the diversity of sense in the phrase 


 Because Pound was a polemicist he could' n see the ear trees for the good woods. Of course he is funny! he's funny because he berates Milton yet he himself will go way off on many limbs in his Cantos



and so 

To imagine or suggest that this greatest of musical poets _ John Milton ___
wrote because he had too much Latin in his brain is

an error that only a skewed ear would come up .


Ezra Pound's ear was sensitive to the nuances of the new in dozens of
cases
but in Milton's
case he missed 
the
mark


.
 other
times his 'screwball'
ideas
confused matters...
it happens...


A similar complaint was launched at Whitman- who beat everyone at their own game
with his self proclaimed Song of Myself, his 'barbaric yawp' ___ as if he knew that his critics were lying in wait for him like little savage dogs. And harping ; whinging circuitous critics, and would be poets, complaining and taking apart others work, instead of focusing on their own. Always the negative ~

At best perhaps Pound had to do
that so he could write what he wrote.
For that we can thank him
for the great things
he uncovered





(however his delires
&;
opinions
about
WS

leave more than things
to be desired)




He did not appreciate Milton's
music and so called Latinate
inversions diversions and debouching
of what he Pound imagined
as the English language.
Pound also did not get Whitman
till quite late the game



“A Pact”

by Ezra Pound

I make a pact with you, Walt Whitman -
I have detested you long enough.
I come to you as a grown child
Who has had a pig-headed father;
I am old enough now to make friends.
It was you that broke the new wood,
Now is a time for carving.
We have one sap and one root -
Let there be commerce between us.'

Dig Pound's idiom __ his tone 
filled with Oedipal whining and complaint. It is Pound who was
pigheaded not Whitman


Pound persona is not Wordsworth's the child is the father to man
he 's more of the bullying kid
busting up his old man
s 'mutton chop's
getting the  guy out of the way




admitting to a friendship
not quite welcome
'let there be commerce .... between  us....'


between us not quite  a becoming

but a strata 
of ideograms



Commerce not
culture
Commerce that crass store Pound hates so much








His relations  to Whitman remain ambivalent and he's aloof to his own
learning reverting at the last
moment to an almost archaic use of the word 
he Can't say O let there be exchange




and he's right in a sense it's the economy of own verse
that he's after his own
 'counting' out versus Whitman's liberal coinage 

Whitman's rich squandering ... his open ended rhythms
unmatchable



but the ambiguity remains 
Pound 'carves' 
Whitman's 'breaks'




thus there no equality
in the 'wealth of nations'


(of poets) 




Pound handles the poet of leaves and grass  as  


as Breton's  surrealism staked
out the claim
that 
it 
was the positive antidote to
 the disruptive  influence   of Tzara's Dada


And for both Breton and Pound


these critical ideas become the fascist line


leading 

the racist delire of  anti-Semitisms

 Pound's obsession with 'commerce' and 'weath' and economy in general
lead to the grand diversion of the Cantos
and the mad freight they carry


Whereas with the Bard well, WS


he did not get Shakespeare at all.


Twice or maybe three times n the ABC of reading __ on the whole a passable but cranky book __ and in other later polemical 'teaching' guides __ he repeats the gaff
of a story
about Shakespeare wanting to be a poet
and since he could not he became a playwright. what silliness

Shakespeare was a poet all of the time__ He breathed poetry ~

Everything he wrote was poetry.

Shakespeare is both the Homer of English and its Sophocles.

Pound did not get Shakespeare, Milton, nor in the end did he get Joyce .

He misunderstood Finnegans Wake and the implications of what Joyce Daedalus had been doing from the start . As far back as the Portrait ~ On the first page of the book it is signaled to the reader the 

importance of sound, whether it be spoken or heard . Heard in the inner/ and outer ear ~ . The heart sound of the choral ear ~ . the flushing toilet brings words to Dedalus' ear not cacaphony  ~ Joyce is our Mozart ~ of the english language which I will give you back when I am don ~ e .

Pound is the great pedant. A great pedant poet and only when he is stripped of everything does he write
great poetry that stands alone. the Pisan Cantos 



In Finnegans Wake and Ulysses (as with Paradise Lost, with Homer and Virgil) one delights from the great learning displayed. One is not dimmed or delayed or brought to task for it_ nor is one browbeaten. You either go with its forage or ride the waves as they come ~
You are invited to learn more if you wish to pick it up and go along as you can

One either takes it up, the mantle of learning, or one does not and one continues reading and enjoying
. Repetition _____________ joy.

This does not suit the talent of smaller critical minds. Those who are cleaning and sweeping have no time really for what's in the way, but must move on to the affirmative ~

No so with the Cantos. Hence the majority of the Cantos will never be read because they are incomprehensible.




Finnegans Wake, for all of its apparent obscurity is simpler and if one follows what Joyce said about reading it __ Read it aloud with Lips and Eyes, its murmuring voices become clearer.

Whereas the Wake is utterly joyous in its erudition and infinite jeu de mots.

Pound does not derive from the great tradition of blind bards and tragic masters.
He is closer to another school that of satire.__ think of Sextus Propertius, Catullus and others he admired ..... I'd say that off the bat   ~


Pound's greatest poems require no learning as they are learning. In the sense that they are a learning. Great and and even and good poems are the learning. Those that sing teach us without us even knowing. There are many great Pound poems . there are many stripped and bare poems he admired for just that reason __ Think of the Chinese poems he loved __ Li Po's works for instance ~

Pound's ignorant remarks about Milton reveal that he lacked the open minded and fairer mindedness of Joyce that he missed a singular and universal quality of the Joycean vision. That vision being one of the great learner, open to everything and all styles. 

He misses the great justice of the Joycean Daedalus vision.



Daedalus learns because of love and life, not because of learning itself. And as Daedalus moves forward to meet Bloom,_ he sees what he has already seen that is the life that is great teacher, and that he like we the readers goes to embrace life for the thousandth time.

Joyce understood everything__ Pound was partially blinded and of course the irony is that it was Joyce who suffered the endless eye problems __ 27 operations.


The blind poet sees more than the  other.

Pound knew this _ he pays homage to Joyce in the later Cantos


Yet Pound could not undo his blindness to Whitman and Milton  ~ he was pooer for it   ~. And we are

richer  ~    


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