'Lonely volcano'

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By. Miguel Ángel Sánchez de Armas

In October the Republic of Letters remembers one of its favorite sons. With brilliant notes, Calliope and Terpsichore will announce that 138 years after his birth, the memory of Ezra Pound It has not completely dissipated in the ruin of the times we live in.

There are places where poetry clings to the souls of young and old. I even know of politicians who are not completely corrupt, who spread the cadence of The songs, as an announcement of the defeat of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley.

And on this anniversary, as for countless years, J.dEITHER offers in the modesty of its space, a memory of the Great Poet:

There is on the banks of the Potomac River a charming group of red brick buildings that in the evenings shine with the last rays of the sun and, if the traveler approaches from Arlington, offers the extraordinary sight of an ember that recalls the pale pink of the flowers. of cherry trees that adorn Washington in the spring.

This is the Saint Elizabeth Hospital, an asylum founded in 1855 that, in addition to thousands of legitimate guests, has given hospitality to others, let's say, less orthodox.

For example, the “marielitos”, declared psychopaths when, frightened and monolingual, they arrived at the land of their dreams after abandoning their Caribbean homeland, risking their lives. And some other different ones... like Ezra Poundperhaps the greatest poet in the English language of the 20th century.

Allow me the reader to bring you up to date: Ezra Loomis Pound was born October 30, 1885 in Hailey, Idaho, and raised in Wyncote, Philadelphia. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and Hamilton College. At a very young age he traveled to Europe where he practiced journalism. His first book was published in Venice in 1908, and during his lifetime he produced more than ninety volumes of poetry, criticism and translations, especially translations of poetry.

With a sixth sense to distinguish talentpound revealed what was perhaps the most important generation of writers of the last century, with names that would have shone at any time, including TS Eliot, DH Lawrence, Robert Frost, John Doss Passos and Ernest Hemingway.

He was a man of independent and critical thought who was against his country's intervention in Germany during the Second War and said so in a series of radio programs, clearly fascist in nature, broadcast from the Duce's Italy.

So at the end of the conflict he was arrested and the Yankee army kept him locked up for six months in a cage made of steel strips, with a permanently lit light bulb, a bucket and two sheets.

He was later declared “dangerous insane” and confined in Saint Elizabeth for 14 years. Is there any difference with the Gulag Archipelago from Solyanitzin?

If this is what one of the greatest poets in the English language suffered, what could the unhappy prisoners of Abu Dhabi or Guantánamo have expected, who were neither poets, nor gringos... well, nor Christians?

Pound has been called the “poet of poets,” responsible for defining modernist poetic aesthetics and promulgating the imagisma school whose technique follows the proposal of classical Chinese and Japanese creation that emphasizes clarity, precision and economy of language to “compose in the sequence of the musical phrase and not the metronome.”

Ernest Fenollosa remember that as an essayist, “pound He wrote mostly about poetry. Beginning in his mid-twenties he set out to examine how economic systems promote or annihilate culture.

He maintained that poetry is not “entertainment,” and as an elitist he had no appreciation for the common reader. pound He considered American culture isolated from the traditions that sustain art and characterized Walt Whitman as “an extremely nauseating pill.”

On February 3, 1909, pound wrote to William Carlos Williams from London: “I am about to fall into the center of the mob that dominates things here.”

At that time he met Olivia Shakespearthe lover of Yeats, the poet whom Pound admired above all the poets of the time.

It was thanks to her that pound arrived at the Irish bard's chambers at 18 Woburn Buildings, where he presided over a hall of writers and admirers.

At the beginning of 1910 they reached pound rumors that Yeats was beginning to speak well of him. He receives a phrase from Yeats, which he joyfully communicates to his parents: “There is no generation of young poets. Ezra Pound it's a solitary volcano.

Donald Hall interviewed pound for The Paris Review in 1960. The interview is long and erudite and in it the poet proposes interesting considerations on the aesthetics of creation and reveals details of his artistic system.

Your answers confirm to me that both for the arts and for non-creative work, that is, what most of us do on a daily basis, discipline, perseverance and study are essential:

-Do you think that free verse is a particularly American form?

-I like the apothegm of Elliot: “no verse is free for the man who wants to do a good job.”

Pound and Hall They met in Rome at the beginning of March in the apartment of Ugo Dadone: “The author of the interview sat in a large chair while pound He moved, restlessly, from another chair to a sofa and back to the chair again. The belongings of pound in the room consisted of two suitcases and three books: the edition of the Songs published by the Faber house, a Confucius and the edition of Chaucer edited by Robinsonthat pound “I was rereading.”

The capital poetic work of pound, The Cantosbegan to appear in 1917. His shortest poems were collected in Personae (1926, expanded edition in 1950). Love Poems of Ancient Egypta translation, was published in 1962, and From Confucius to Cummingsan anthology of poetry compiled by Pound and Marcella Spannin 1963.

Aldo Mazzuhelli He gives us a sensational memory of the poet:

“In 1961, at the age of 76, after, among other things, having been exposed to the weather for a month in a heavy steel cage, he had discovered and promoted about ten of the leading figures in the literature of this era. century, not having owned anything that could not be stored in two travel suitcases, having lived with two women at the same time for decades, having spent 14 years locked up in an asylum, having tried to change the economic ideas of Roosevelt and Mussolini, having eaten two tulips from the decorations on a dinner table to attract more attention than William Butler Yeats, having changed - perhaps invented - the poetry of the 20th century, having failed spectacularly in his intention to write a new Divine Comedy, and having challenged a poetic rival to a duel in London in 1912 - who proposed, when choosing weapons, that they bombard each other with unsold copies of their respective works in verse -, Ezra Pound was deeply depressed. He told a visitor, one of those who at that time were going to contemplate the living legend: 'I am a man reduced to fragments.'”

I end by sharing two sonnets from pound in version of Javier Calveither:

The attic

Come, let us take pity on those who are more fortunate than us. / Come, friend, and remember / that the rich have butlers instead of friends, / and we have friends instead of butlers. / Come, let us have mercy on the married and the single. / The dawn enters with her tiny feet / like a golden Pavlova, / and I am close to my desire. / There is nothing in life that is better / than this hour of clean freshness, / the time of waking up together.

A pact

I will make a pact with you, Walt Whitman - / I have detested you enough. / I come to you as a grown child / Who has had a stubborn father; / I'm old enough to make friends. / It was you who cut the wood, / it is now time to work. / We have the same sap and the same root- / Let there be trade, then, between us.


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