Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Intensely beautiful weather: a slice of the North Bay courtesy of my visiting sister. This morning I completed a first pass through "A" (not including "A"-24, which is after all mostly in another language—music). Much of it is more comprehensible than The Cantos; on the other hand, the extensive documentation available to help a reader through Pound's allusions and references simply isn't available for "A". Toward the end he really hits his stride in terms of transforming condensare into an absolutely Zukofskyan intensity: that peculiar five-word-per-line form he seems to have invented for "A"-21 (the Plautus play—I'm very glad I got to see it performed at the Centennial Conference last year) and which somehow in my mind gets married to a certain essential Latinity, the particular prickliness and syntactical ambiguity of that language when brought bones dripping into English (you see it in Milton too—interesting to see Zuk pick on Stevens for adapting Milton too literally in one of Stevens' poems). For my purposes I was struck by "A"-22 as a kind of pastoral/natural history, and the play too is an obvious precursor of The Tempest. My focus in the chapter will probably be on the this late Latinate Zukofsky: these sections of "A" literally predict 80 Flowers, the crown atop "A" as Ronald Johnson's The Shrubberies seem intended to crown ARK.

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