Ezra Pound and the tale of the tribe in 2013.
Today, Easter Sunday 31st March 2013, I am here at home in Amsterdam, switching between facebook, blogger, youtube and Wikipedia, and my copy of Pound’s Cantos. And I cannot resist pulling out some examples of Pounds relevance, coloured by the texts analysis by Pound/Joyce scholar Dr Robert Anton Wilson.
First off there is the poetry, the straight up imagist prose that is juxtaposing natures forms with man’s sensory experiences, bashing the mind with species and etymology through metaphor. Just on the surface, when revisiting Canto’s CXVII & CXVIII without pretending to be able to decode the strange new scripts intermingling on the page, there is an aesthetic appeal, an instant wonder and sense of the unique, nothing else in literature exits anything like this, to this day. And so I imagine the wonders and messages hidden away, what I don’t know is always in my face, highlighting what I can read and make inferences about, like little villages of recognizable action and meaning surrounded by a huge forest of mystery and unknown symbol systems.
Due my acknowledgement of what I don’t know about the Cantos, it proves difficult to state a case about the text, and about what Pound means by any particular fragment or ideogram. However, there is a long line of scholarship and decoding of the texts, along with extensive biographical commentary on Ezra Pound to help the lone rambler stumbling into the forest. Like Joyce’s equally dense work Finnegans Wake, Pounds Cantos…works its hidden magic most effectively with an accompaniment of skeleton keys, supportive texts and internet search engines, or if you are fortunate a good teacher.
Robert Anton Wilson regarded Ezra Pound very highly, although like many other Pound scholars made clear that he did not ascribe to Ezra’s opinions during the 30’s and 40’s which took on a fascist and racist tendency. RAW does not throw the baby out with the bathwater and almost begs us to reconsider Pound and all his contributions and his extensive wonderful works that aim to better humanity, our individual critical minds and refine a globalist taste for common horse-sense in general. RAW’s love and deep understanding of the Cantos is expressed in a series of Cantos commentaries published at rawfans.org, and which inspired this writing today. I recommend them highly, and especially with the Cantos in hand, reading in between the lines and discovering the labyrinth of rich languages running together with the English bits.
Commentary on The Cantos of Ezra Pound, c. 2001-2002
Canto I, II & XX, III, IV, VIII, IX, X,
XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVII, XVIII, XIX,
XXI, XXXI, XXXII, XCVIII
“There are six rites for festival
and 7 instructions
that all converge as the root tun pen
the root veneration (from Mohamed no popery)
To discriminate things
mu a pattern
great and small
(That Odysseus’ old ma missed his conversation)
To see the light pour,
that is, toward sinceritas”—Ez, Canto XCIX