Reality Intrudes: A Moment In The Cantos That Changes Everything

1.

Reality intrudes at the start of “Canto III” of Ezra Pound’s The Cantos, creating the pivot on which the poem rises from the land of the dead described in the first two Cantos to announce itself as an epic, with the poet as its hero.  This moment of reality comprises just six lines describing a decade-old memory.  But they carry tremendous weight.  It is the process by which they acquire that weight and how they come into the poem in this form that interests me here.  

Here’s the background:  

It is April, 1908.  Ezra Pound has just arrived in Venice.  There is scandal behind him:  He was fired two months before from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, after his landladies discovered a girl in his bed.  Attempting to defend himself, he said he’d slept in his office, and not in his rented rooms, because the woman, a chorus girl, was stranded in a snowstorm, and he’d given her his bed; but few believed him.  Besides, the college has found his behavior since he started teaching there a year ago to be deliberately provocative, what with smoking, drinking, staying up to all hours, and entertaining women, and is looking for its chance to get rid of him.  This report from the landladies stokes the priggishness of the college administrators.  It’s the necessary last straw.  It turns out to be good for the college, the landladies, and ultimately for Pound himself, that he left a town in a state which he labeled “the sixth circle of hell” (the one where the heretics burn). 

He sailed from New York to Gibraltar, and has come to Venice, renting a room over a bakery near the San Vio bridge.  It is a short half-mile walk to the Dogana, the old custom house, and he takes it sometimes to look wistfully across the Grand Canal to Saint Mark’s Square.  He is poor, having only what’s left of his severance from the college, and so is too poor to hire a gondola to cross the canal and mingle with the crowds and see the sights up close.  He has written poems before this, but with this break from the academy he is following his star and beginning his serious career as a poet.  Three months from now, in July, he will self-publish his first book, A Lume Spento, then in August he will abandon Venice for London, where he will persuade the bookseller Elkin Mathews to display the book in his bookshop, an influential London literary venue.  In another good turn, the London Evening Standard’s review will call the book “wild and haunting stuff, absolutely poetic, original, imaginative, passionate, and spiritual.”  By October of that year, London literary circles will be talking about him; he is a still a young man, only age 23, but he is beginning to have a name.  In a hurry to capitalize on his changed circumstances, he will turn to the handwritten manuscript which academics now call The San Trovaso Notebook for poems for a second collection, titling it A Quinzaine For This Yule.  It will appear under the name of publisher Pollock and Co., but is in reality another self-financed venture.  Pound is making the most of his new persona as artiste and poet, of being noticed.  His appearance, for example, always somewhat eccentric, now takes a wilder turn.  Ford Maddox Ford gives a description:  

Ezra … would approach with the step of a dancer, making passes with a cane at an imaginary opponent. He would wear trousers made of green billiard cloth, a pink coat, a blue shirt, a tie hand-painted by a Japanese friend, an immense sombrero, a flaming beard cut to a point, and a single, large blue earring.

This is not frivolous activity; it is one of many masks he will adopt in his career as a way to develop his work.  Persona and work are related in his view, as the persona is the finder of fact, the maker of tone, the creator of the made piece.  As the persona changes so does the work.  Assaying the early work and the first thirty Cantos, the critic R.P. Blackmur will write in his influential 1933 essay, “The Masks of Ezra Pound” that “Mr. Pound’s work has been to make personae, to become himself, as a poet, in this special sense a person through which what has most interested him in life and letters might be given voice.”  

The changes that the masks create—in voice, range, and subject matter—are easy enough to see by opening random pages in successive volumes, from the archaism of “Sharing his exile that hath borne the flame” of A Lume Spento (1908), to the cold ironic voice of “The little Millwins attend the Russian Ballet. / The mauve and greenish souls of the little Millwins / Were seen lying along the upper seats / Like so many unused boas.” of Lustra (1917).  Between these two books come close associations with Yeats, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Wyndham Lewis, and T.E. Hulme, H.D. and Imagism, Vorticism, Cathay, and Blast, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, and many other movements, people, and moments.  Pound is moving fast through these years.  Everything he touches changes him, as he often changes it.  

He studies hard in each phase, learning everything he can from masters and colleagues.  One of the most influential of these masters at an early stage is Robert Browning, from whose writing and poems Pound learns enough to begin to fill out his theories about the important relations of persona and poetry.  He also learns something else that will affect his poems for the rest of his life: that the teller of tales must ground his tales in fact, and that there are successful ways to do this, exemplified by the way Browning used The Yellow Book for The Ring and the Book, and descriptions of actual scenes of Venice for Sordello.  Browning also teaches him something new about voice and persona, the use of a subjective paratactic narration that will be important as he begins his first efforts in what will become The Cantos.  After eleven years of this fast movement, in 1917, after he has made a reputation with his books Personae, Exultations, The Spirit of Romance, Cathay, and others, always publishing at least one and often two books a year, as he will do for most of the rest of his life, he describes his time in Venice, in a rambling set of three Cantos published in three successive issues of Poetry Magazine.  He had begun work on these lines in 1915 and they showcase his fight with his literary father by opening with the line, “Hang it all, there can be but one Sordello!”—an icebreaker if ever there was one.  But Browning’s influence has become so important, so dominant, that he will have to be confronted and discarded before Pound can begin his major life’s work on The Cantos.  The fight must end with Pound moving beyond Browning.  Making the point, immediately after the 1917 publication he starts revising these ur-Cantos, sharpening the images, tightening some lines that he saves and dropping most of the others, seeking economy, compression, and speed.  The Poetry magazine appearance was in the June through August issues; in October 1917 he published the cantos in his book Lustra (New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1917) with minor revisions as “Three Cantos of a Poem of Some Length,” and in February through April of 1918 he published further minor revisions in a London periodical The Future.  These ur-Cantos will have to change, but he does not know how to do it yet.  He is bound too tightly by his influences and his ambition.  That is, he knows he wants to write a long poem, and he believes that he has found a style in which to do it, though he remains restive about it.  

In any case, he works on the new sections of the poem continuously, ruthlessly culling lines and stanzas.  He writes Cantos IV-VII quickly, publishing them in The Dial in 1921, using a modulation of the voice and temperament of the first three, but these were still somewhat unsatisfactory.  As he wrote his father in December 1919, “done cantos 5,6,7, each more incomprehensible than the one preceding it.”  

But something is changing, triggered by external events, as he is still learning from seeing new things in the work of others, and transmuting them into things he can use.  In this case the new work is from James Joyce and T.S. Eliot.  Pound helped get Ulysses published in serial form in The Little Magazine starting in 1918, and as he read the proofs he saw Joyce’s technique of combining the drab and splendor materials, increasing speed and numbers of voices, bringing humor into a serious work, systematically using allusive fragments or narrative, and at the same time developing character.  

His close editorial association with Eliot brought him into contact with Eliot’s way of using some of these lessons in poetry, first in Gerontion (1919) and then in The Waste Land.  In this same period, Pound writes two longish breathtaking pieces which also change his approach, “Homage to Sextus Propertius” in 1919, and “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” in 1920.  Some of the influence of all of these new things shows in Canto IV.  But the major change in irony and tone of these other pieces find their way more significantly into a new canto, Canto VIII, and that changes everything.  The new canto as it develops seems to repeat some elements of the divine epiphany included in Canto I, but in this newer more compressed style which Pound finds to be more subtle and capable of greater effects.  Ultimately, he moves Canto VIII to the place that has been held by Canto II, and scraps first the old Canto II and then the old Canto I, and then finally the old Canto III.  The conversion is total:  The ur-Cantos are no longer part of his sequence.  Everything is changed.  The Browning influence is muted and then all but discarded, with only a few lines remaining in Canto II.  

He now proceeds to rewrite Canto III.  It is 1923 as the memory of his time in Venice takes its final shape in the poem, as the opening lines of Canto III, some of it cribbed from the discarded ur-Cantos.  In these lines he remembers sitting alone on the steps of the Venice custom house looking across the Grand Canal to Saint Mark’s square, too poor to travel there by gondola.  He recalls the face of a particular woman, and the sights and sounds of that moment of seeing, the members of the Buccentoro rowing club singing verses of a then-popular but vulgar song, “The Spanish Girl,” the lights of the Morosini palace, and the Palazzo dei Leoni rookery on the Grand Canal, when suddenly the memory is interrupted and brought present, as he sees gods “in the azure air”:  

I sat on the Dogana’s steps
For the gondolas cost too much, that year,
And there were not “those girls”, there was one face,
And the Buccentoro twenty yards off, howling, “Stretti”,
And the lit cross-beams, that year, in the Morosini,
And peacocks in Koré’s house, or there may have been.

These opening lines, with their subtle internal rhymes and the flow and echo of the vowels, are now the first personal intrusion by Pound in the poem. They introduce him as poet-hero, but as a passive one, sitting and not doing anything other than observing, and somewhat defeated by his lack of material resource.  The surprise for the reader is in the subject matter, the appearance of this personal reverie following the wide-ranging cultural raves through other legends, poetries, myths, and centuries, of the two predecessor Cantos.  The only clue that something else may be about to happen is the “And…” that ends Canto II, itself comprising a bookend to the “And” that opens Canto I, making these two cantos more or less self-contained introductory material.  The memory ends and the present resumes control with a vision.  

In this moment of memory he makes himself part of that reality which the rest of the poem will set out to engage and contain. These personal lines telescope concerns of the rest of the poem—they are a meeting-ground of economics, finances, art, gods, history, time, and memory—and then they break off in what appears to be an inexplicable jump to a god-infested vision.  It is inexplicable because there is no obvious trigger in the lines, nothing to spark the vision; it seems to happen almost randomly, and a reader is left with the sense that anything else could have happened as easily as this movement from the memory of peacocks to a current vision of gods in azure air, or from a 10-year old memory to a currency of gods and swimmers:  

              Gods float in the azure air,
Bright gods and Tuscan, back before dew was shed.
Light: and the first light, before ever dew was fallen.
Panisks, and from the oak, dryas,
And from the apple, mælid,
Through all the wood, and the leaves are full of voices,
A-whisper, and the clouds bowe over the lake,
And there are gods upon them,
And in the water, the almond-white swimmers,
The silvery water glazes the upturned nipple,
                As Poggio has remarked.
Green veins in the turquoise,
Or, the gray steps lead up under the cedars.

For Pound, though, as the mini-history above shows, these lines are not random at all, and in fact they describe something epic:  For 1908 was the year in which he became a poet, published a first book, then a second, and began to make his reputation and career as a poet.  The shift in the lines, from past to present, from the deep poverty of those older days to visions of divinity of these current ones, must be viewed in the context of the making of his poetic career, from the start to realization, from poverty and joblessness to the beginning of the epic poem that would occupy the rest of his life.  These lines are the great pivot, the moment when the poem changes over from introduction of themes and elevation of goals, aims, and achievement by reference of the first two cantos, to something more grandiose and specific:  The announcement that this “poem of some length” will be the epic that continues the other older epics, and the assertion of his vision, an announcement welcomed by the gods.  This memory is the centerpiece of it all, the moment of reality from which the poem makes its claim for epic equivalence and proceeds from here to prove it.  

He learned what he could from Browning, now he is moving away from him, developing a new mode of writing to use in this poem he is beginning, and it is unlike anything else he has written.  This new work of his will not have an appearance in book form until 1925, under the title, A draft of XVI Cantos of Ezra Pound : for the beginning of a poem of some length.  He has no idea at his time how long the poem will be, but he is sure that he is on to something, and that it is big, a poem containing history, in a new inclusive style, an epic to continue from the last great epic of the past, which is how he regards Robert Browning’s Sordello.  In 1928 he will publish A Draft of the Cantos 17–27, but A Draft of XXX Cantos will not appear until 1930, with the Hours Press, a Paris publishing house run by upper-class Brit writer, heiress, and political and civil rights activist Nancy Cunard.  This will be the first chance an interested reader will have to see these poems together, the first time he or she can get a substantial sense of what the poet has been up to in this decade of intense writing.  

2.

It may be useful to look more closely at how the new canto develops from the old.  Here are the lines Canto III takes from the old ur-Cantos

           Your “palace step”?
My stone seat was the Dogana’s curb,
And there were not “those girls,” there was one flare, one face.
’Twas all I ever saw, but it was real….
And I can no more say what shape it was …
But she was young, too young.

And here’s the passage they respond to from Browning’s poem, in which the character Sordello takes inventory and makes judgment on his life and the life in the city around him:  

          I muse this on a ruined palace-step
At Venice: why should I break off, nor sit
Longer upon my step, exhaust the fit
England gave birth to? Who ‘s adorable
Enough reclaim a——no Sordello’s Will
Alack!—be queen to me? That Bassanese
Busied among her smoking fruit-boats? These
Perhaps from our delicious Asolo
Who twinkle, pigeons o’er the portico
Not prettier, bind June lilies into sheaves
To deck the bridge-side chapel, dropping leaves
Because it is pleasant to be young,
Soiled by their own loose gold-meal?
          Ah, beneath
The cool arch stoops she, brownest cheek! Her wreath
Endures a month—a half month—if I make
A queen of her, continue for her sake
Sordello’s story? Nay, that Paduan girl
Splashes with barer legs where a live whirl
In the dead black Giudecca proves sea-weed
Drifting has sucked down three, four, all indeed
Save one pale-red striped, pale-blue turbaned post
For gondolas.
                    You sad dishevelled ghost
That pluck at me and point, are you advised
I breathe? Let stay those girls (e’en her disguised
—Jewels i’ the locks that love no crownet like
Their native field-buds and the green wheat-spike,
So fair!—who left this end of June’s turmoil,
Shook off, as might a lily its gold soil,
Pomp, save a foolish gem or two, and free
In dream, came join the peasants o’er the sea).
Look they too happy, too tricked out? Confess
There is such niggard stock of happiness
To share, that, do one’s uttermost, dear wretch,
One labors ineffectually to stretch… 

The chiding by Pound about his place on the “curb” versus the “ruined palace step” of the other is not a solitary instance of querying and responding to Browning’s poem.  Dialogue and argument with the other poem about facts and values occupies much of the writing in these first efforts, a struggle that betrays a deep anxiety of influence, for as much as Pound admired Browning, he did not want to be overwhelmed by him.  He knew that he was accumulating significant debts to the other, in learning ways to bring historical materials into his poetry from this study of Sordello, and how to bring original texts into his poem from his reading in The Ring and the Book.  

Some more theoretical debt may have come from reading Browning’s discussion about poetry and history in an 1852 introductory essay to Letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley, where he argued that poetry can organize and validate the mere jumble of facts that history otherwise would be, can make it into something more permanent and freighted with universal truths:  

There is a time when the general eye has, so to speak, absorbed its fill of the phenomena around it, whether spiritual or material, and desires rather to learn the exacter significance of what it possesses, than to receive any augmentation of what is possessed. Then is the opportunity for the poet of loftier vision, to lift his fellows, with their half-apprehensions, up to his own sphere, by intensifying the import of details and rounding the universal meaning.

What Pound drew from that, and the essay’s discussion of the two kinds of poets (objective and subjective), as well as from Sordello, where he saw the theory in practice, is that the great poetic chore was not factual accuracy on the one hand or imaginative self-expression on the other, but historic truth as created by the deep working of the poetic imagination.  (There are ironies here:  The letters turned out to be spurious, a claim for something that should have existed, but did not, and the book was recalled and suppressed.  But for those who saw it, Browning’s essay was not well-received:  “We are bound to state that the conceit of much of Mr. Browning’s introductory discourse is equalled only by its very indifferent English and most questionable grammar; and that the conceit, the bad English, and the careless grammar, are all surpassed by the pervading obscurity of style and thought, which to the ordinary reader cannot but prove distressingly tantalizing,” said The Literary Gazette, in its February 21, 1852 review, apparently written before the fraud was exposed.) 

These are philosophical and methodological inheritances from the other poet.  But there was another area where the debt was so large as to be potentially overwhelming if not dealt with.  Pound wanted to make The Cantos a complimentary successor to Sordello, which he considered the last great epic in poetry.  He knew, even as he began his “poem of some length” that it would be an epic.  The problem he faced was how to do this, learning so much from a great master, and yet have it come out his own way and in his own voice.  He had to create a distance, to engage and find a way around the other poet.  Thus:  

Hang it all, there can be but one Sordello!
But say I want to, say I take your whole bag of tricks,
Let in your quirks and tweeks, and say the thing’s an art-form,
Your Sordello, and that the modern world
Needs such a rag-bag to stuff all its thought in;
Say that I dump my catch, shiny and silvery
As fresh sardines flapping and slipping on the marginal cobbles?
(I stand before the booth, the speech; but the truth
Is inside this discourse—this booth is full of the marrow of wisdom.)
Give up th’ intaglio method…. 

He knew—he could not have not known—that there were problems in the technique of Sordello.  Its convoluted rhetoric and intentional obscurity make it a difficult poem to read even by a trained reader.  At the time of its publication, Alfred Lord Tennyson is reputed to have said that “There were only two lines in it that I understood, and they were both lies; they were the opening and closing lines, ‘Who will may hear Sordello’s story told,’ and ‘Who would has heard Sordello’s story told!’”  And for all that, Pound still had to find a way around Sordello and this poet, this “Bob Browning,” without letting go of it or the questions the poet and his poem raised for his work:  

                              Peire Cardinal
Was half forerunner of Dante. Arnaut’s that trick
Of the unfinished address,
And half your dates are out, you mix your eras;
For that great font Sordello sat beside—
Tis an immortal passage, but the font?—
Is some two centuries outside the picture.
Does it matter?
          Not in the least. Ghosts move about me
Patched with histories. You had your business:
To set out so much thought, so much emotion;
To paint, more real than any dead Sordello,
The half or third of your intensest life
And call that third Sordello;
And you’ll say, “No, not your life,
He never showed himself.”
Is’t worth the evasion, what were the use
Of setting figures up and breathing life upon them,
Were ’t not our life, your life, my life, extended?
I walk Verona. (I am here in England.)
I see Can Grande. (Can see whom you will.)
          You had one whole man?
And I have many fragments, less worth? Less worth?
Ah, had you quite my age, quite such a beastly and cantankerous age?
You had some basis, had some set belief.
Am I let preach? Has it a place in music?

And so, from this quarrel, without giving up “th’ intaglio method,” his first writing of “My stone seat was the Dogana’s curb” is changed to the simple and more descriptive “I sat on the Dogana’s steps / For the gondolas cost too much, that year” and “And there were not “those girls,” there was one flare, one face. / ’Twas all I ever saw, but it was real….” becomes “And there were not ‘those girls’, there was one face”; much of that long original passage from 1917 redrafted over three years to a mere six lines that tells us all we need to know.  

Pound has changed his view of Browning from being a model of technique to imitate to being a poet from whom to depart.  Much of the rest of the Browning influence is dropped in the process of moving from the ur-Cantos to the final version.  Sordello became the point of departure, and Pound left with his arms full, though it is interesting and odd that Pound should have drawn so many lessons from one of the most maligned and nearly impenetrable of Browning’s works.  Perhaps in its obscurity and fragmentary approach to the telling of the tale, the original proved not only suggestive to Pound’s creative instincts, it also gave him license to free himself.  

3.

It was not just Canto III that was reworked, everything Pound originally wrote was re-framed.  He started with introductory materials.  

Canto I begins “And then…” not as a new beginning but a continuation of an old story, an addition to the reality of the world of things and acts:  “And then went down to the ship,” the poem begins, that “And then” announcing that this work, these acts about to take place, come after some preceding act or acts, some movement or moment undescribed here, because not necessary to be described.  Because what comes before that line is all the rest of writing and all the rest of the world:  That two-word opener is a phrase without limits, uncircumscribed, unbounded.  Everything happened before this moment, and this work, this act, this moment of Pound’s poem continues all of that other time and existence, all of that life.  

Canto I rewrites Book XI of the Odyssey, Odysseus’ journey to the land of the dead, set in Seafarer rhythms, a tour de force conjoining past epics, a double reference to properly set the stage in which his newly subtitled “Poem of some Length” can join their august company.  Canto II then follows this at gallop with a modern language questioning of the dead as it moves through Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Browning’s Sordello, Euripides, Dionysus, and others, all of it conducted against a smoky postwar WWI background. Pound regarded the method of these first two cantos as parallel to the Greek rite of nekyia, or the questioning of the dead about the future.  Pound thought the nekyia of the Odyssey a poem much older than the Odyssey itself.  In the Odyssey original, Odysseus journeys to the Halls of Hades, across the River of Ocean to consult Tiresias.  The shades of the dead gather to drink blood and speak with him, and he speaks with many of them, including with his dead mother.  Tiresias tells him that he alone will survive the voyage home. 

Canto II ends “And…” It is the bookend to the poem’s beginning “And then…” The two phrases or words frame the introduction to the work, telling us that this is an epic, and that it has a hero, and—and—that new things will take place.  Pound created something new for this poem, or maybe better stated, brought it to a kind of perfection.  In this collage technique of the Cantos, narrative is abandoned, certainty disrupted, and time interrupted and made plastic, in favor of a method of organization that is thematic, not specific, and organic and intuitive rather than chronological or sequential, at least in the ordinary sense of those terms.  Everything and nothing taken up in the poem is before us at all times, because everything and nothing can be before us at all times.  

The technique, like other techniques of telling invented and used by the modernists of the 20’s, was a response to the deep psychic impact of pain and losses of World War I that started in 1914 and ended in 1918.  Those Anni Mirabiles years produced such modernist masterpieces as The Cantos, The Wasteland, Ulysses, Swann’s Way, Mrs. Dalloway, The Magic Mountain, The Great Gatsby, The Sound and the Fury, The Sun Also Rises, Passage to India, Women in Love, and many more.  These works sought, in T.S. Eliot’s phrase, to give “shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history…” 

Their new narrative techniques for engaging this differently perceived sense of reality included myth, collage, unreliable narrators, fragmented structures and many others. Pound uses all of these in the Cantos.  He has freed himself from Browning, and Sordello, whose only appearance in these opening Cantos are the first lines of Canto II.  The need for rejection is named earlier, at the end of the ur-Canto II, where he tells the story of a man from Indiana (Pound had taught school in Indiana):  

                    I knew a man, but where ’twas is no matter:
Born on a farm, he hankered after painting;
His father kept him at work;
No luck—he married and got four sons;
Three died, the fourth he sent to Paris—
Ten years of Julian’s and the ateliers,
Ten years of life, his pictures in the salons,
Name coming in the press.
                    And when I knew him,
Back once again, in middle Indiana,
Acting as usher in the theatre,
Painting the local drug-shop and soda bars,
The local doctor’s fancy for the mantel-piece;
Sheep—jabbing the wool upon their flea-bit backs—
The local doctor’s ewe-ish pastoral;
Adoring Puvis, giving his family back
What they had spent for him, talking Italian cities,
Local excellence at Perugia,
                        dreaming his renaissance,
Take my Sordello!

The poetry of Canto III’s opening is the result of his successful fight with Browning, or better, with what Browning was for him.  W.B. Yeats said, “Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.”  Pound’s quarrel with himself, with his materials, with Robert Browning, results in this incredibly compressed and beautiful moment of reality that launches and defines The Cantos.  

4. 

Finally, here, some definitions that may be helpful:  

Dogana is the Venice Custom House, which has striking views across the Grand Canal to buildings surrounding Saint Mark’s Square.  

Buccentoro means “Golden Bark,” and is a rowing club situated around the corner from the Dogana.  

Stretti is from a Neopolitan song that was popular then.  It means “close embrace.”  The song is La spagnuola or The Spanish Girl.  The kline is “Stretti stretti / nell’ecstasi d’amor / La spagnuola sa amar cost / bocca a bocca la notte e il di”:  In close embrace, in close embrace / in love’s ecstasy / the Spanish girl is that way when in love / mouth to mouth, night and day.  

Morosini is an aristocratic Venetian family and the name of a square and a palace.  

Kore’s house refers to the neglected grounds of the Palazzo dei Leoni, which had become a rookery.  

Panisks are little woodland Pans.  

dryas are oak tree nymphs that die when the tree dies.  

maelid is a nymph of the apple trees.  

Poggio is Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini (13801459), best known simply as Poggio Bracciolini, an Italian scholar and early humanist.  He discovered and recovered many classical Latin manuscripts, mostly decaying and forgotten in German, Swiss, and French monastic libraries. His most celebrated find was De rerum natura, the only surviving work by Lucretius.  The “remark” is a distortion of his description from a letter to Niccolò de’ Niccoli, another humanist, about a scene he witnessed at the baths in Baden, Switzerland, in 1416.  

5.  

My debts for this piece are numerous.  Some wonderful critics have written on these passages and on Pound.  Here are the ones that were most helpful to me:  

The Pound Era, Hugh Kenner, University of California Press (September 18, 1973).  One of the great books on Pound and the modernists.  

The Genesis of Ezra Pound’s Cantos, Ronald Bush, Princeton University Press (July 14, 2014).  One of the truly helpful books on The Cantos by a knowledgable critic.  

Form and Value in Modern Poetry, R.P. Blackmur, Forgotten Books (December 10, 2017), the essay on Ezra Pound titled “The Masks of Ezra Pound.”

Blogging Pound’s The Cantos: Canto III, Gord Sellar, Part 5 of 51, online at https://www.gordsellar.com/2012/03/06/blogging-pounds-the-cantos-canto-iii/

A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound, Carroll F. Terrell, University of California Press; F Second Printing Used edition (April 16, 1993)

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