Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Book Review: Ezra Pound, Volume I, The Young Genius

Recently I read the Ezra Pound biography by A. David Moody (sounds like the name of a blog). When one is unemployed, and an aspiring poet, (they go hand in hand) then one should try and do something productive. So I read this 410 page tome.

It is surprisingly a quick read, despite the density of information it contains. Every episode in his life is analyzed, every change of location, every publication, his meetings, his affairs, Moody has done his research and it shows. I would be very surprised if anything new about Ezra Pound's life will be revealed unless they find his elementary school valentines in the bottom of a sunken chest.

The approach is a more literary one, of course, and his life is told through his writing and the writing of others' mostly. This gives a very good picture of Pound the public figure, but some of the more intimate details of his life are lost. From a scholarly perspective, what he liked to eat and drink, how his apartments looked, and the kind of lover he is, are probably not as important, and writing about them creates a risk for digression, though it is hard to know what Pound was like when he was not in his "Poetic Genius Mode" unless he was in it all the time, which is possible.

I suppose knowing more personal information about him is only necessary for me because so little of him comes off in his own work, except his education and his linguistic skills. He was never a river merchant's wife, nor was he Malatesta. The closest we come to him is always an official version of his life, details in the Cantos, and in Hugh Selwyn Mauberley. But here he is still a character, a figure, a hopeful force for history, and if failing that, of history. We know he must have known what love was, eaten sweets, seen colors, etc. like any other poet. No poet can totally hide his or her life away from their work, it shows through the details. the only way around it would be to write nothing but lists of numbers and be in love with the sounds they make.

Another shortcoming is that in the work, it is hard to pinpoint where "Ezra" began to become "Pound." By the end of the biography, Pound is leaving London. It is 1920 and he has begun to help with the birth of modernism, him and Eliot are published, the Cantos have begun, etc. However there seems to be no singular point where we see him deciding this is where he wanted to end up. Was he always blessed with some sort of divine madness that drove him, right from the start of his life? Did it come to him later? Was there an awakening?

This is a hard thing to determine, and one may ask themselves, does it matter? Or can it even be found? Perhaps I am relying too much on the lives of the Beat poets, especially Ginsberg and Corso, who tended to have those moments, "Blakean Visions," a poet generally doesn't have the kinds of experiences they have, unless they are Ginsberg and Blake, or have a traumatic life that makes burst forth into poetry, like Sexton or Corso.

But Pound is still different from the other poets, it doesn't seem to matter when Pope thought he was good at verse, or even Shakespeare, one could imagine them simply "falling" into poetry and deciding to keep with it. With Pound, though, you have a figure who viewed himself as a poetic revolutionary, and so like any good biography of a revolutionary, Che, Mao, Jefferson, one wants to know when the spark went off, when the figure decided everything had to be changed, overthrown. The first poem is not enough, we want to know when the break happened, because when one tries to be revolutionary in anything, their lives are never seamless, there is is always a diving point.

But despite these two criticisms of mine, it is a strong work overall, soundly researched and it paints a good portrait of the family that Pound came from, I was surprised at the level of political involvement his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather engaged in, and how supportive his father generally was of his son's poetic ambitions. This is a stark contrast with T.S. Eliot's father, who pretty much disowned his son. the book also explores his poetry very well and the genesis of the Cantos. If it was extended another two years, his help on the Waste Land, but that will have to wait for volume II. It would not be right to break up Pound's life by his work with others, and the decision to divide his life around his departure from London, I think is justified.

Anyways, the biography is good for all fans of Ezra Pound and all you visionary and revolutionary poets out there. I think it shows whats in store for you and if you are a fan of his work, it is an interesting and captivating read.

Wazee Journal

Alright, another post about a poem of mine, go read it here. Then check out the rest of the issue. I know I will.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

On AOL Posting

Well, I admit that I get a good deal of my news from Is this a bad thing? It's more of a convenience than something that I actively seek out. I check my emails there, so it makes sense to peruse the articles that they have. I take it all with a large grain of salt, perhaps that's why my tears are so corrosive these days. What always surprises me is how the important and trivial are laced together. Although I guess it shouldn't really surprise me given the state of news in this country. part of it is probably the fact the stories flash so quickly before you. One sees reports of cyclones in Myanmar, and then what color is the new black, followed by something involving Obama, and then foods that will ruin your appearance in a bikini.

What I have taken a real interest in, and perhaps this is just the sociologist in me, are the posts that readers leave behind. I suppose one can see how people are, what the rest of America other than elite, intellectual New Yorkers have to say, and what people will say when there are no consequences, which can result in some pretty offense/hilarious comments.

Anonymity is, of course, one of the major problems of the internet. At this point I don't really see it as a mixed blessing, rather a curse. It's not enough to ban the internet altogether, I'm not saying that, but it's like exhaust from the car, an unfortunate bi-product rather than something that has to be controlled, like the speed of a car for instance. I feel that anonymity tends to dumb down debates and discourse and gives people too much opportunity for prank statements that become red herrings.

This is most apparent in articles covering the political elections. One thing I have noticed, is that Clinton seems to have more supporters on AOL, or at least supporters with more time on their hands. If she does well among retired folks, that would explain it, and maybe AOL attracts an older crowd. The vitriol seems to be more anti-Obama than Clinton, with McCain left relatively unscathed. i think this is the result of the media's portrayal of Obama, which has been largely positive, although his controversy with the rev. Wright I think has received more coverage than the controversial politics of McCain's own religious advisers, or the role that Clinton played in Bosnia. Nonetheless I can understand the frustration of Clinton supporters with the media. This is how I've felt in regards to their portrayal of Bush after 9/11.

So Clinton supporters turn to where they can express their anger and then do nothing about it, like frustrated teenagers graffiti-ing an overpass that cut their neighborhood in half and caused its decline.

Comments have generally been like this (these particular posts are from this article, but I think they could come from anything political):


"There is a media scam trying to convince Americans that Obama won. This scam will be apparent after the next few primaries that Hillary will win in dramatic proportions. There is a media campaign to push Hillary out of the race. She can still win this.
She is the only candidate able to defeat Mccain.That is why they are trying to push her out of the race." - mssspellr


"Even John "LERCH" Kerry would have been a better choice than
Barak Hussein "buckwheat" Obama" - tune2atis

"Obama - corrupt Chicago politician, do-nothing Senator.

Never saw a tax he didn't like.

Change: Will ship every tax dollar he can get to Africa."

"I can't stand the thought of a black MUSLIM (B. Hussein Obama) as president. For once I hope every KKK member and secretly predjudicial person in America votes Republican. This Democrat would have voted for Hillary. I WON'T vote for Obama because he's black...because the black voted for him for that reason ALONE!"

Ones that are both:



Occasionally rational and trying to make a point:

Hillary would have to win approximately 70% of the votes to even make a dent in all the remaining primaries, at a time when her popularity has taken a dive.

Besides, who wants to vote in a race for the injured horse?
Her style is outplayed. We are starting a new era of optimism, vigor, principles and ethics where there is no room for her shenanigans.
Vive Obama! - fofoye


"55Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08
Dream Team, at last.

Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08
Dream Team, at last.

Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08
Dream Team, at last.

Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08
Dream Team, at last.

Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08
Dream Team, at last.

Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08
Dream Team, at last.

Although a McCain Rice ticket would be a good alternative." - alexandersfol

I am noticing a fair amount of ones claiming a conspiracy to put Obama in charge of the country, more than I saw in articles coming from the beginning of the campaign, especially among Clinton supporters. I suppose her followers are trying to understand why she didn't win the nomination outright by now. Something other than her own lackluster campaign and the desire not to perpetuate a political dynasty must be int eh works, yes, yes, a conspiracy!

"Every blog, board, article and website I read, the majority are for Hillary not Obama.

Why is the media and the dirty, filthy backstabbing politicians pushing Obama down our throats. Notice how the blacks all ditched Hillary after Obama won Iowa.
They did not think he had a chance....they got lucky. Then they blamed Bill Clinton
and his statement that Jesse Jackson won S.C as a reason to ditch them.
No loyalty, they all suck..but the fat, old white guys are the worst ever. pundits and politicians....throw your buddies under the bus.

Obama is a very weak candidate against the Republican machine...just wait and see. hope is nice but not now...we have serious problems in this country." - kmakdn

A lot of the posts seem to bash "hope" and "change" which I think is funny. Look at the above quote, "Hope is nice but not now," because without hope we will really fix this country up!

In case anyone wants to accuse me of approaching this with a slant or bias, I am just going to say that it is not there. Personally, I don't think I am going to vote in the 2008 elections. I just think it is interesting how the followers of one campaign react when their campaign flounders and their rivals takes off and does better than expectations. I would think similar charges could be flung by Obama supporters if they were losing.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Alright, so three more poems on the web.

The first is called "Strange Rain" in the online publication Temenos

The other two are in Denver Syntax, they are:

"The Absence of Psychosis"

"Delinquent Road"

I must say I rather like their formatting. The major advantage of appearing online over print, of course, you can do so much more with how things appear. The black background for Strange Rain for instance, that would be a major hassle for a print magazine.