Peycho Kanev's Reviews > The Cantos
by Ezra Pound
by Ezra Pound
One of the greatest wordsmiths ever. Reading Pound, one feels the weight of civic responsibility. Pound rages at what he sees rending Western Civilization from its roots. He discloses history by mentioning it, using events as metaphors, as expressions, as examples of his points, and in doing this he expects you to know them. Pound's poetry convicts one to read Dante, to read Homer, to read the Troubadours. The Cantos really has no plot. The poem consists of approximately 120 shorter poems (themselves called "cantos," after the sections into which Dante divided each book of his Divine Comedy), some of which tell unified stories and some of which are simply collections of musings, observations, memories, and exhortations. To some extent (in my opinion) to really be able to understand the Cantos you have to strive to become Pound. This is not something the academics are willing to do, and many of them (in my opinion) miss the whole point. To become Pound means allowing yourself to become accept a certain sort of craziness. Putting aside questions of identifiable mental illness, there is a way in which Pound, in the Cantos, is often just not in touch with rationality as we ordinarily understand it. This is the craziness of someone who sees something that other people don't see (which is not in itself crazy) and who expects that other people will also see it if he just shows it to them. Like I said one of the greatest wordsmiths. Ever.
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