Friday, September 11, 2009

Ezra Pound and W B Yeats

Ezra Pound was friendly with many of the great poets of the first half of the twentieth century. He helped T S Eliot edit The Waste Land. In 1913 he met Yeats in London. He is quoted as considering Yeats "the only poet worthy of serious study." From then until 1916 he acted as Yeats' secretary. Pound on one occasion had some of Yeats' verse published with his (Pound's) own unauthorised alterations.

Pound mentions Yeats now and then in the Cantos sometimes calling him Uncle William. In The Pisan Canto LXXX he comments on Irish history and Yeats (Billyum) sitting in the Free State Senate. The spellings are Pound's own and the reference to one of Yeats' poems is typical Pound.

The problem after any revolution is what to do with
your gunmen

as old Billyum found out in Oireland

---------in the Senate, Bedad! or before then
---------Your gunmen thread on moi drreams

There are excellent readings by Pound of his own work on the PennSound Archive.

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