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.
Friday, February 26, 2016
… Pound's Metro by William Logan - The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)