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New Directions Paperbook #66: Selected Poems of Ezra Poundby Ezra Pound
Synopses & Reviews
This newly revised and greatly expanded edition of Ezra Pound’s Selected Poemsis intended to articulate Pound for the twenty-first century. Gone are many of the “stale creampuffs” (as Pound called them) of the 1949 edition. Instead, new emphasis has been laid on the interpenetration of original composition and translation within Pound’s career. New features of this edition include the complete “Homage to Sextus Propertius” in its original lineation, early translations from Cavalcanti, Heine, and the troubadours, as well as late translations of Sophocles, and the Confucian Odes.
As a lifelong expatriate, Pound parceled out his work to a variety of journals in England, America, France, and Italy. This new edition takes account of this complex publishing history by giving the poems in the chronological order of their original magazine publication. We can observe Pound as he first emerges onto the literary scene in the pages of Ford Madox Ford’s English Reviewand Harriet Monroe’s Chicago-based Poetry, and then as an agent provocateur for the avant-garde Little Review, Blast, and The Dial.
Unlike all previous selections, this volume provides annotation to all the early poems as well as a running commentary on the later Cantos — indispensable to any reader wanting to follow Pound on his epic odyssey through ancient China, medieval Provence, the Italian Renaissance, the early American Republic, and the darkness of the twentieth century. The editor, Richard Sieburth, provides a chronology of Pound’s life, a new preface, and an informative afterword, “Selecting Pound.” Also included in the appendix are T. S. Eliot’s and John Berryman’s original introductions to Pound’s Selected Poems.
Ezra Pound has been called "the inventor of modern poetry in English."
The essential collection of Ezra Pound’s poetry—newly expanded and annotated with essays by Richard Sieburth, T. S. Eliot, and John Berryman.
The verse and criticism which he produced during the early years of the twentieth century very largely determined the directions of creative writing in our time; virtually every major poet in England and America today has acknowledged his help or influence. Pound's lyric genius, his superb technique, and his fresh insight into literary problems make him one of the small company of men who through the centuries have kept poetry alive—one of the great innovators.
This book offers a compact yet representative selection of Ezra Pound's poems and translations. The span covered is Pound's entire writing career, from his early lyrics and the translations of Provençal songs to his English version of Sophocles' Trachiniae. Included are parts of his best known works—the Chinese translations, the sequence called Hugh Selwyn Mauberly, the Homage to Sextus Propertius. The Cantos, Pound's major epic, are presented in generous selections, chosen to emphasize the main themes of the whole poem.
About the Author
New Directions has been the primary publisher of Ezra Pound in the U.S. since the founding of the press when James Laughlin published New Directions in Prose and Poetry 1936. That year Pound was fifty-one. In Laughlin’s first letter to Pound, he wrote: “Expect, please, no fireworks. I am bourgeois-born (Pittsburgh); have never missed a meal. . . . But full of ‘noble caring’ for something as inconceivable as the future of decent letters in the US.” Little did Pound know that into the twenty-first century the fireworks would keep exploding as readers continue to find his books relevant and meaningful.
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