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Literary Essays of Ezra Pound Paperback – January 17, 1968

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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About the Author

New Directions has been the primary publisher of Ezra Pound in the U.S. since the founding of the press when James Laughlin published New Directions in Prose and Poetry 1936. That year Pound was fifty-one. In Laughlin’s first letter to Pound, he wrote: “Expect, please, no fireworks. I am bourgeois-born (Pittsburgh); have never missed a meal. . . . But full of ‘noble caring’ for something as inconceivable as the future of decent letters in the US.” Little did Pound know that into the twenty-first century the fireworks would keep exploding as readers continue to find his books relevant and meaningful.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 482 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions (January 17, 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811201570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811201575
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By S. Schuler on October 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
Pound's literary essays are an indispensable companion not only to his own poetry, but also to what is generally referred to as modernist poetry, especially that of T. S. Eliot and the later Yeats, in general. The first few essays announce a clear break with the poetry of the 19th century and urge a return to the authenticity (my term, not Pound's) of earlier, premodern styles of lyric poetry. Some of Pound's assertions may not make sense to a reader who is largely unfamiliar with the development of lyric poetry from the Renaissance to the 19th century, or with Pound's poetry itself--the essays are not written for the uninitiated. I highly recommend reading Pound's poems alongside his essays since the two always elucidate each other, the essays providing an explanation of the poems' rationales, and the poems offering examples of the essays' arguments. But Pound's explanations are typically lucid in themselves, and one could hardly find a clearer articulation of the modernist aesthetic agenda.
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Format: Paperback
I find that reading just the first two essay was worth the money I spent on this book. Pound writes his literary essay with creativity, intelligence, and humor that are rare even among the best essayists. "A retrospect" is a great guide to use for those who takes interest in writing poetry. Likewise "How to Read" will serve as a great crash course for the history of poetry, and provides us with an instruction on how to approach poetry. His personal critique of other writers are also worth reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Inarguably America's most prolific poet and essayist, Ezra Pound is probably the most influential of all American poets and quite possibly the best. This collection of essays gives a more representative view of the complete thinker in all fields of knowledge than does the collection assembled by T. S. Eliot. Pound comes out of the line of Donne and Browning--more the musician of words than the painter, more an inhabitant of time than of space. He was an awesome "discourse-machine" (even before word-processing), whose syntactical energies, whether in verse or prose, are often fascinating and provocative if not occasionally compelling.

Having survived Browning's "Sordello," I thought I'd devote attention to some of the ideas that led to "The Cantos." Soon, it becomes clear that a fuller understanding of the poet requires equal attention to his economic and political ideas. Too many discussions of Pound simply apologize quickly and awkwardly for his anti-Semiticism, and move on to "safer" selections from the poetry. Pound may at least deserve credit for the courage of his convictions (like a suicide bomber), regardless of how wrong-headed they were. (He did try in vain to recant abhorrent, hateful words that, having gone out over the radio waves, were indelible and on the record.) Still, some would argue that his printed words are equally on the record, and if so it's necessary to give his writings their due (admittedly often ramblings) Selected Prose 1909-1965 in order to come to a better understanding of the most notoriously difficult poem by an American poet.
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The book as the source for those who are reading and rereading the high samples of world literature. Nice present!
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