Ezra Pound: Poems and Translations

Overview

Poetic visionary Ezra Pound catalyzed American literature's modernist revolution. From the swirling center of poetic change he excited the powerful energies of Eliot, Joyce, and William Carlos Williams and championed the Imagism and Vorticism movements. This volume, the most comprehensive collection of his poetry and translations ever assembled, gathers all his verse except The Cantos. In addition to the famous poems that transformed modern literature, it features dozens of rare and out-of-print pieces, such as ...
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Overview

Poetic visionary Ezra Pound catalyzed American literature's modernist revolution. From the swirling center of poetic change he excited the powerful energies of Eliot, Joyce, and William Carlos Williams and championed the Imagism and Vorticism movements. This volume, the most comprehensive collection of his poetry and translations ever assembled, gathers all his verse except The Cantos. In addition to the famous poems that transformed modern literature, it features dozens of rare and out-of-print pieces, such as the handmade first collection Hilda's Book (1905-1907), late translations of Horace, rare sheet music translations, and works from a 1917 "lost" manuscript.

Pound's influential Cathay (1915), Lustra (1917), and Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920)-as surely as his later masterly Confucian odes and Sophoclean dramas-followed the poet's own directive to "make it new," opening fresh formal pathways into ancient traditions. Through these works and others representing more than 30 different volumes and dozens of pieces that Pound never collected, Poems and Translations reveals the breadth of his daring invention and resonant music: lyrics echoing the Troubadors and Browning, chiseled 1920s free verse, and dazzling translations that led Eliot to call Pound "the inventor of Chinese poetry for our time."

An extensive chronology offers guidance to Pound's tumultuous life. Detailed endnotes of unprecedented range and depth clarify Pound's fascinatingly recondite allusions.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For decades, readers have patched together the portions of Pound's oeuvre that interested them via the myriad New Directions editions, some of which are now out of print. Sieburth, best known as critic and superb translator of German and French poetry, has done a fantastic job of finding and logically arranging nearly everything that Pound wrote that could be called a poem or translation, including the juvenilia of "Hilda's Book" (written for fellow University of Pennsylvania student Hilda Doolittle, later H.D.) and the late, moving elegy, first published in 1971, that he wrote for the brother of one of his St. Elizabeth's acolytes. Pound as an anti-Semite, as a supporter of Mussolini and as a treasonous or insane U.S. citizen, are present in the rich chronology and footnotes that Sieburth provides (there is no introduction), but little of this social context makes itself known in the poems themselves, which center on precise, stress-timed meters; the near absence of personal revelation of any kind; and a Puritan impatience with "Symbolist" ambiguities. That Pound famously considered his life-work, the 800-page Cantos, a "botch," makes the verve, optimism and confidence evident in such an undertaking seem like an Icarian flight. Add to the Cantos reversionings of Guido Cavalcanti and Arnaut Daniel; the robust, still fresh "Cathay" sequence; the metrical displays of "Tenzone," "Dance Figure" and "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley"; the innovative "Homage to Sextius Propertius"; and passionate translations of Sophocles and Confucius's Classic Anthology, and one can't help but think that the appearance of this volume will give readers of American poetry a sense of renewed energy in sorting through the horrific details of a long, ideologically wounded century and (in the eclectic translations) the myriad luminous details of millennia of European and Asian literature. (Oct. 1) FYI: As a counterweight to the LOA edition's heft, Sieburth breaks out the oft-taught Pisan Cantos-written while Pound was imprisoned by the U.S. in Italy, published in 1948, and awarded the Bollingen Prize-and gives them their own volume, with a cogent introduction. (New Directions, $13.95 paper 192p ISBN 0-8112-1558-X) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Crazy ol' Ezra is somewhat persona non grata these days because of his anti-Semitism. But art should surmount personal politics, and an artist he was. The publisher claims that, with the exception of the Cantos, all Pound's original poems and his translations of other poets' verse are collected in this volume. Pound for pound, this might be the most extensive collection of the author's work currently available. Academic libraries certainly should invest in a copy; public libraries also should consider it. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931082419
  • Publisher: Library of America
  • Publication date: 10/13/2003
  • Series: Library of America Series
  • Pages: 1300
  • Sales rank: 758,430
  • Product dimensions: 5.23 (w) x 8.15 (h) x 1.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Sieburth, editor, is professor of French and Comparative Literature at New York University, author of Instigations: Ezra Pound and Remy de Gourmont, and editor of Pound's Walking Tour in Southern France and Pisan Cantos.
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Table of Contents

Hilda's Book (1905-1907)
from A Lume Spento (1908)
from The San Trovaso Notebook (1908)
A Quinzaine for this Yule (1908)
from Personae (1909)
from Exultations (1909)
from The Spirit of Romance (1910)
from Canzoni (1911)
Poems Withdrawn from Canzoni
The Sonnets and Ballate of Guido Cavalcanti (1912)
from Ripostes (1912)
from Cathay (1915)
from Lustra (1916-1917)
'Noh' or Accomplishment (1917)
from Arnaut Daniel (1917)
from Pavannes and Divisions (1918)
from Quia Pauper Amavi (1919)
Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920)
from Umbra (1920)
from Personae (1926)
from Guido Cavalcanti Rime (1932)
Alfred Venison's Poems (1935)
from Guide to Kulchur (1938)
from Personae (enlarged version, 1949)
Confucious: The Great Digest & Unwobbling Pivot (1951)
The Confucian Analects (1951)
The Classic Anthology Defined by Confucius (1954)
Elektra (ca. 1949-early 1950s)
Sophokles: Women of Trachis (1956)
from Pavannes and Divagations (1958)
from Translations (enlarged version, 1964)
Uncollected Poems and Translations
Chronology
Note on the Texts
Notes
Index of Titles and First Lines
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