Diptych Rome-London by Ezra Pound

By Ezra Pound

Diptych Rome-London presents the 2 undisputed masterpieces of Pound's pre-Cantos work––the lengthy poems "Homage to Sextus Propertius" and "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley."
Created within the aftermath of global battle I, the poems paradoxically examine where of the artist in "a botched civilization." "Homage to Sextus Propertius" (1917) is a loose translation from the Latin, an homage to the Roman poet; praising its "enormous freedom and diversity of tone," Hugh Kenner remarked that "few extra unique poems exist in English." "Hugh Selwyn Mauberly" (1920) is defined in A. Walton Litz's transparent and necessary creation as a "master record of literary modernism." It used to be additionally T.S. Eliot's favourite Pound poem: "I am relatively convinced of 'Mauberley,' no matter what else i'm convinced of... an excellent poem, a record of an epoch."

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Char offered the manuscript of his poem to the Museum of Ornans on 6 March 1976. The letter to Wey was written on 29 November 1849. 45 Maizières is in Franche-Comté, in eastern France. Surrealism and Beyond: Kandinsky, Dali, Corot, Courbet 49 Whose chrysalids they penetrate The blood of the suffering they treat lightly anecdotally We ingest the grey fire’s plague come from the rock While others scheme in the town hall Yet we are better off on these ruined roads There the evening breeze carries the scent of tomato orchards We forget the impending nastiness of our wives And the bitter thirst that collects in our knees Son tonight our dusty labours Will be visible in the sky Already lead oil rises up.

Char constructs a portrait to match those of the master. Feminine presence and simple grandeur are the subjects they both portray. On the stream’s grey swelling A madderwort’s curtain has risen My body lies along its furrow To harvest the wheat’s shoots you must bend and reason with the unknown My muslin is drenched and its folds draw me out I languish on the lips of the valley When they are enveloped in discouraging distances I extend the strength of my arms to the foam of the dying I apply my white law to their foreheads I give myself to my assailants I yield to their furious weight 46 Poetic Illumination The air in my long veins is inexhaustible I turn from the smell of shepherds From my roof I discern the street and its sneering cobblestones A hedge of maples is cut back by a painter who prunes them on his peaceful canvas He’s a frequenter of poor farmhouses A kind and vexed scarab.

By December 1935 Char had formulated his definitive rupture with surrealist tenets that the autocratic Breton had laid down in his manifestoes and was unprepared to change; the real world beckoned; a new “balance” between conscious and unconscious activity was hailed;34 the ordinary in life was not to be disdained. Yet a sense of the mystery of existence and of language would never be forgone. Char’s early fascination with the pithy fragments of the preSocratic Heraclitus, of enigmatic and visionary appeal, enduringly influenced his subsequent style.

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