Review of Ezra Pound: His Metric and Poetry by T.S. Eliot

Ezra Pound: His Metric and Poetry by T.S. Eliot

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An important work of early Poundian criticism, this essay makes a strong case for understanding the poet’s reworking of traditional meters. Eliot examines several representative poems from Pound’s early books, which mostly fall into the category of translations and imitations . While the first three published Cantos get a brief mention, they are not actually examined, and since they are in keeping with his other work from the period, those three would not show the kinds of radical innovations to come in the line and meter by the time of the Malatesta and Pisan Cantos. The disappointment here is that Eliot does not bother scanning his examples, demanding his reader rely on his conclusions about the prosody. Since reputable critics then and now challenge those assertions, he would have done well to “show his work” by including his calculations rather than just his solutions.

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