Poetry and Opinion: The Pisan Cantos of Ezra Pound: a Dialog on the Role of Poetry

Poetry and Opinion: The Pisan Cantos of Ezra Pound: a Dialog on the Role of Poetry

Poetry and Opinion: The Pisan Cantos of Ezra Pound: a Dialog on the Role of Poetry

Poetry and Opinion: The Pisan Cantos of Ezra Pound: a Dialog on the Role of Poetry

Excerpt

Conway, Massachusetts May 30, 1950

The controversy over the award of the Bollingen Prize to Ezra Pound's Pisan Cantos will be remembered chiefly because it raised a great and ancient ghost whom none of those present apparently saw. The ghost was Aristotle's. Long after the embarrassing personalities of the original attack have been forgotten and long after the indignant replies have lost their point, the question of poetic function which the attacker raised but did not know he raised, which the defenders relied upon but never invoked, will haunt the bloody field.

Forgetting -- one wishes it were possible to forget -- the personal offensiveness of the unfortunate articles in the Saturday Review of Literature, and ignoring the odorous trails of the various red herrings of "modernism" and "obscurity" (ignoring, that is, the jealous quarrels . . .

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