Often called "the poet's poet," because of his profound influence on 20th century writing in English, American poet and critic, Pound, believed that poetry was the highest of the arts. You never would have believed that a writer and optimist such as Ezra Pound would have been born in Hailey, Idaho in 1885. From the sound of his work you'd thing he was definitely one of those European Imagist. In 1908, after teaching college for two years, Pound traveled abroad to Spain, Italy, and London. He followed the teachings of Ernest Fenellosa and became very intrigued by Japanese and Chinese poetry. The literary figure who has had the most substantial impact on modern thought is without a doubt Ezra Loomis Pound. In The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry (1988), he is described in the following manner:
"The most extraordinary career in modern poetry has unchallengingly been that of Ezra Pound. It was he more than anyone who made poets write modern verse, editors publish it, and readers read it" (374)
One poem that stood out for me was Pound's work "A Virginal." Composed in 1912, this is a great example of Pound's skillful and early developing sonnets. It is very catching how Pound opens the sonnet with great emotion, "No, no speaking in pretense of a lover discarding a lady. In the concluding sestet Pound returns to the original two stressed syllable, "No, no," a dismissal of his discarded love, and the beginning of his reason for abandoning the attraction of traditional verse.
"No, no! Go from me. I have left her lately.
I will not spoil my sheath with lesser brightness,
For my surrounding air hath a new lightness;
Slight are her arms, yet they have bound me straightly
And left me cloaked as with a gauze of aether;
As with sweet leaves; as with subtle clearness.
Oh, I have picked up magic in her nearness
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...ists in effecting this change were a handful of American poets.
Ezra Pound, the most aggressively modern of these poets, made "Make it new!" his own battle cry. In London Pound encountered and encouraged his fellow friend in exile, T. S. Eliot, who wrote what is arguably the most famous poem of the twentieth century, "The Waste Land" using revolutionary techniques of composition, such as the collage. Both poets turned to untraditional sources for inspiration, Pound chose to turn to classical Chinese poetry and Eliot to the ironic poems of the 19th century French symbolist poet and then followed Pound to Europe and wrote poems which, in their extreme concision and precise visualization, most purely embodied his famous doctrine of Imagism.
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