Friday, July 16, 2004

Read through the war years and up into St. Elizabeth's in Tytell's biography, and my revulsion toward Pound is at an all-time high. It becomes more and more difficult to hold the contradictions in my mind. I'm nowhere near simply chucking The Cantos and other assorted Poundiana into the wastepaper basket, but my sympathy for those who do is high. And though I'm now convinced he was mentally ill from the mid-twenties on, that doesn't mean he wasn't responsible for his actions. Incidentally, I'm struck by other nasty misdemeanors in his life that would probably have received more attention if not for the spectacular nature of his high crimes. The man basically abandoned his son Omar and was an indifferent parent to his illegitimate daughter. He was a compulsive womanizer. And most of all, mean as a snake. Yet, and yet: it was his unusual capacity for friendship--particularly to Eliot and Joyce--was of imperishable value, or at least fostered imperishable works. As for The Cantos themselves--well. They are the record of a struggle, mixed in the way described by Yeats ("Out of our quarrel with ourselves, we make poetry; out of our quarrel with others, rhetoric") but not separable as his formula implies. It will be responsibility, in writing about him, to take the whole (yet fragmented) Pound into account--though there's much I can scarcely bear to touch.

No comments:

Popular Posts