Pound: The God Inside
IF THE POETRY of T. S. Eliot presents scores of people, Ezra Pound's presents hundreds. Sketches, portraits, caricatures, vignettes occupy almost all his work; imagist as he is, concerned to find the right words and rhythms for visual and auditory experiences, his work nevertheless seems, on one level, to be a long gallery of character studies. The people in the gallery are modem and ancient; of China, Greece, Provence, and England; poets, soldiers, business men, goddesses, philosophers. Indeed, the astonishing variety of the people, the experiences, and the tones in The Cantos has led many readers to dismiss that poem as a random collection of memorabilia and to regard its apparent artlessness as real ineptitude.
But of all modern poetry Pound's is the hardest to judge accurately. Whereas the work of Eliot, Yeats, and many other modern poets continually reflects the English tradition and seems, in spite of any debts it owes to foreign verse, a development consistent with the English poetic past, Pound's position is quite different. Though he owes much to Browning, the main achievement of his poetry may be the adaptation to English of poetic methods seldom used in English verse. His use of masks and of the dramatic monologue, while essential in his poetry, cannot be understood without a