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A Lume Spento

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Ezra Pound's first book of poetry that was privately printed in Venice in 1908 by A. Antonini. Includes an active table of contents, correct spacing/breaks, links to footnotes, and automatic (poetic) indentation for any size frame or font.

For more classic, exceptionally-formatted poetry titles look for Perscribo Publishing in the Kindle Store.


Grace Before Song
La Fraisne
In Epitaphium Eius
Na Audiart
Villonaud For This Yule
A Villonaud Ballad of the Gibbet
Fifine Answers
Anima Sola
In Tempore Senectutis
Famam Librosque Cano
The Cry of the Eyes
Scriptor Ignotus
Donzella Beata
Li Bel Chasteus
That Pass Between the False Dawn and the True
In Morte De
Ballad Rosalind
On His Own Face in a Glass
Ballad for Gloom
For E. McC.
Salve O Pontifex!
To the Dawn: Defiance
The Decadence
La Regina Avrillouse
A Rouse
In Tempore Senectutis (II)
Oltre La Torre: Rolando
Make strong old dreams lest this our world lose heart.

75 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 1908

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About the author

Ezra Pound

454 books890 followers
Ezra Weston Loomis Pound was an American expatriate poet, critic and intellectual who was a major figure of the Modernist movement in early-to-mid 20th century poetry.

Pound's The Cantos contains music and bears a title that could be translated as The Songs—although it never is. Pound's ear was tuned to the motz et sons of troubadour poetry where, as musicologist John Stevens has noted, "melody and poem existed in a state of the closest symbiosis, obeying the same laws and striving in their different media for the same sound-ideal - armonia."

In his essays, Pound wrote of rhythm as "the hardest quality of a man's style to counterfeit." He challenged young poets to train their ear with translation work to learn how the choice of words and the movement of the words combined. But having translated texts from 10 different languages into English, Pound found that translation did not always serve the poetry: "The grand bogies for young men who want really to learn strophe writing are Catullus and François Villon. I personally have been reduced to setting them to music as I cannot translate them." While he habitually wrote out verse rhythms as musical lines, Pound did not set his own poetry to music.

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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews
Profile Image for Fin.
145 reviews9 followers
May 28, 2022
For man is a skin full of wine
But his soul is a hole full of God
And the song of all time blows through him
As winds through a knot-holed board.

Though man be a skin of wine
Yet his heart is a little child
That croucheth low beneath the wind
When the God-storm bloweth wild.

This volume comprises the first two published books of Pound's verse (along with some unpublished notebook poems written in San Trovaso), and showcases a wild and singular voice shot through with Venice, myth, and Provençal love poetry. A Lume Spento is definitely the highlight, and though much of the collection's best pieces are reproduced later in his Personæ, they feel much more coherent and at home surrounded by poems of a similar timbre. These words are self-consciously archaic, full of allusion to centuries-old convention and ancient myth, but also showcase a unique formal and linguistic inventiveness that feels as alien and original in the 21st Century as it did in 1908.


—and going heavenward leaves
An opal spray to wake, a track that gleams
With new-old runes and magic of past time
Caught from the sea deep of the whole man-soul,
The "mantra" of our craft, that to the sun,
New brought and broken by the fearless keel,
That were but part of all the sun-smit sea,
Have for a space their individual being,
And do seem as things apart from all Time’s hoard,
The great whole liquid jewel of God’s truth.


As winds thru a round smooth knot-hole
Make tune to the time of the storm,
The cry of the bard in the half-light
Is chaos bruised into form.*

The skin of my wine is broken,
Is sunken and shrunken and old.
My might is the might of thistle down,
My name as a jest out-told.

Yet there cometh one in the half-light
That shieldeth a man with her hair,
And what man crouch from in his soul
The child of his heart shall bear.

(*what a line)
Profile Image for Harry.
39 reviews8 followers
January 9, 2019
Best part about pound is that he is so elitist that even his "juvenelia" stinks flys away, a masterpiece showing the rest of the superstitious signs of his soon to come genius in this history of a poet.
Profile Image for Rolf.
1,894 reviews9 followers
August 7, 2021
I only looked into Pound's life and politics after reading, out of curiosity. While there is something to admire in his style, I have to admit I couldn't help but feel there wasn't enough substance here to merit reading his stuff further after learning about his actions during WWII. There are better poets to spend time with who don't have the same baggage.
Profile Image for David.
Author 2 books8 followers
July 29, 2017
Pound's first books often are dismissed as juvenilia but are not. The 1965 New Directions edition is a beautiful hardbound reissue of the original 1908 A Lume Spento and A Quinzaine for This Yule, the first two books. Easy to find in the poems of the then unknown EP the future author of Peronsae and Lustra, but without having any way of knowing it himself, by way of Fenollosa added to the Provençal and Venetian mix, the future author of the Pisan Cantos, Drafts & Fragments, and other parts of The Cantos is peeking out here as well. Much overlooked in Pound studies, to the detriment of Pound studies, and much to read both with pleasure in what is on the page at hand and also with anticipatory retrospective delight.
Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews

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