Friday, February 26, 2016

Before and after …

 Pound's Metro by William Logan - The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The shock of modernity in Pound’s couplet has faded, but it’s jarring to compare what he was writing before that fateful encounter in the Métro. In Ripostes (1912): “When I behold how black, immortal ink/ Drips from my deathless pen—ah, well-away!” and “Golden rose the house, in the portal I saw/ thee, a marvel, carven in subtle stuff.” A smattering of modern diction seeps in elsewhere, but Pound’s imagination had been steeped in Victorian vagaries, with a weakness for the long-baked poeticisms of “ ’twould” and “ ’twas,” of “hath” and “ ’neath” and “ye” and “thou,” the language of Nineveh reconstructed from torn-up pages of the King James Version.

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