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Selected Poems

4.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 987-0156806471
ISBN-10: 0156806479
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The Underground Railroad
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"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1888. He moved to England in 1914 and published his first book of poems in 1917. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. Eliot died in 1965.

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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (October 18, 1967)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156806479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156806473
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I won't speak to the literary prowess of Ezra pound. That is for the reader to decide for themselves whether or not they are fans of his written work. To speak of the book itself, I am a huge fan. It is simple, concisely laid out, standard paper quality and the ink does not show through. It is the kind of book one can wake up in the early morning, sit on their patio with a cigarette and cup of coffee, and read through to create a feeling of pristine tranquility. Ezra Pound's poetry, combined with the top notch quality of this book itself, will take you to the place you need to be.
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By jjsnlee on December 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
Hard to reconcile Ezra Pound the poet, with such a beautiful sense for the rhythms and melodies of the English language, and so sensitive to his time and place in the literary tradition, with the man who broadcast propaganda for the Italians during the Second World War, whose preference was for the Fascists because of their sense of style. Mishima also comes to mind, with impeccable aesthetics, totalitarian politics.

In any case if the politico-poetic schism doesn't bother you, this slim collection is a wonderful introduction to this important Modernist. His Cantos were overreaching and sprawling -- some of the poems here have the glint of lyric perfection. I am especially fond of the Cathay poems, and of those Exile's Letter is my favorite. His translation is crystalline, the words flow like water, of all his poems, translations or otherwise, I feel this is among the most perfect -- not for greatness of idea or emotion, but for its subtlety and lyricism.

He reaches such moments in parts of the Pisan Cantos ("What thou lovest well remains, the rest is dross"), but it's a bit funny that he had T.S. Eliot whittle down The Waste Land, but he himself didn't have the discipline to pare down his own work. This might be why his translations (The Seafarer, The River Merchant's Wife) seem to be more anthologized, and considered the more accessible portion of his work -- the limits of these poems were already in place, holding his ambition in check, thus allowing him to concentrate on the language, which he really did so well.
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Format: Paperback
Ezra Pound remains a problem: at his best a superb poet and one of the finest poetic craftsmen ever (I don't think I've read a line of his without learning something about how to write poetry,) at worst still interestingly idiosyncratic; as a critic by turns brilliantly insightful and stubbornly wrong-headed; as a translator repeatedly devising versions which for all their faults indelibly alter our perception of the originals; as a literary activist and promoter, responsible for fostering more talent than any other person in the modern English-speaking world; and, notoriously, in his politics one of the most pernicious figures of his century. Though there is a later New Selected Poems and Translations (Second Edition) (New Directions Paperbook) in print, personally, for those who want a brief, judicious selection of Pound's poems, I'd recommend instead this this old New Directions selection which, though it seems to be out of print, is available used. In particular, if you haven't read much of Pound and want to start exploring his poetry, this is the best book to get.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this selection only after having read so much else by Ezra Pound, a great poet. This selection covers both the early poems and the Cantos and is an excellent introduction to Pound's poetry and certainly an invitation to read much more.
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Format: Paperback
For some reason most poetry does not really resonate with me. One of the only poets I can stand is T.S. Eliot. His poetry is absurd and lyrical, providing just the barest glimpses at the underlying meaning. But the images stay with me.
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Format: Paperback
I think this book is a good representation of Pound's work, and certainly one that Pound fans will enjoy. Personally, though, I've always had mixed feelings about Pound. I often feel like he had two very different voices--one, a pompous academic; the other, a humble haiku-esque observer of the world--and I wish the latter consistently outshined the former. I enjoy Pound's shorter poems like "Alba", "Salutation", "The Encounter", "And the days are not long enough", and "An Immortality" (the latter two not in this book), but many of his other poems irk me with their clunky syntax. For example, consider this book's much-quoted poem, "A Pact":

A Pact

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.

This is actually one of my favorite Pound poems, but it is not without problems. The beginning is solid, but in line 4, "Who has had" is needlessly awkward; obviously, "who had" would suffice. The last four lines are better, but Pound seems to be working against himself here. "Now is a time for carving" rather elegantly responds to the previous line and ties it up with maximum economy of syllables, not to mention a passionate call to arms. But Pound weakens it by continuing with two more lines metaphorically referencing sap, roots, commerce, etc., effectively giving the poem a second more academic ending that strays from his own extended metaphor!
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