I don't think I ever used the term "problem" in that context. If so, it was not
about "finding." My concern is that the poem as published had a sort of a
"structure" that was clearly imposed by Pound's cuts, Eliot's acceptance of
them, and the notes with their claim of a mythic structure that is actually
only discernable at all in section V where there really is a narrative and a
land and references to Grail quests. Much of the first 4 sections was
written before Weston was published, but in any case, they do not have the
same materials in that way. If you focus instead on associative models of
images, of course there are recurrent images and clusters of them that can
be seen to create a complex of meanings. It can and has been read as
organized or coherent in various ways. I did it myself once. I think all that
has to be rethought in light of the facsimile, much more knowledge of
biography, Eliot's own later claims, and especially _Varieties of
Metaphysical Poetry_, which reveals a long term concern with what TSE
saw as disintegration of the subject, not just the culture.
Date sent: Wed, 28 Mar 2001 10:01:53 -0700
Send reply to: [log in to unmask]
From: "Richard Seddon" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Stetson in The Waste Land
For info on the ideogrammic method see: Laszlo K Gefin (accent mark over
the "e"); "Ideogram: History of a Poetic Method". Pound develops the
method scattered over numerous books, essays and letters which makes it
difficult to reference through Pound.
Regarding the Chinese arranging their ideograms as spatial art: Speakers
of tonal languages such as Vietnamese often arrange/choose their words for
the beauty of the song, Arabic and Farsi (Persian/Iranian) writers also
choose words for their visual beauty.
Gefin and Yip (in "Ezra Pound's 'Cathay'") would include as poets using
Pound's ideogrammic method, Williams, Olson, Creeley, Snyder, Zukofsky,
Reznikoff, Oppen, Duncan and Ginsburg.(page xviii of Gefin)
Regarding TSE and TWL, Gefin states, "But Eliot, apart from 'The Waste
Land', is not ideogrammic"( page xviii). This would seem to include TWL,
in Gefin's thinking, as an ideogrammic poem. He goes on to state that
even given TWL as ideogrammic it differs from other ideogrammic poetry in
being "analytical in approach and form" whereas other ideogrammic poetry
is "synthetical". I do not fully understand Gefin's distinction here and
need to study it much more. He also implies that TSE's non-use of the
ideogrammic method, except for TWL, was part of the reason for Williams'
disapproval of TSE. Gefin states that Pound's poems "Homage to Sextus
Propertius" and "Mauberley" also follow the analytical distinction vice
synthetical. "Homage" is another of Pound's creative translations.
Nancy has alluded to her problems with finding structure in TWL. ( I hope
I'm not putting words in her mouth but that has been my sense of what she
has said in the past. ) An ideogrammic poem would properly have a very
special structure that would fit no norms for literary structure as the
word is commonly used by critics.
Ideogrammic poetry approaches spatial art. I am currently reading Donald
Davie "Ezra Pound: Poet as Sculptor". The Image which is used is still
temporal as it must be being language. The juxtapositioning of Images
creates a poem that may be very spatial and not temporal at all since
that poem is formed at the intersections of the Images and does not
involve language. If I state "rust" , "robin", "blood", "rose", "cherry",
"apple", "radish", "wheelbarrow" :>), your mind will create a composite
"image" (little i) of the concept "red". I never say red, it is not part
of the statement, yet your mind supplies it. The words "rust", "blood",
"wheelbarrow" etc. are images (I don't want to call them Images [big "I"])
which combine into the ideogram in your mind for "red". A poet using this
method can transport you to conceptual levels you would not otherwise
visit. "In a Station of the Metro" does this. In the poem there are two
Images (big "I") and one composite poem which forms at the intersection of
the Images. Nothing prevents the poet from using Images to form ideograms
and then juxtaposing ideograms to form a super-ideogram. TWL may very
well be a super-ideogrammic poem.
Retreating towards my red rock's shadow in anticipation of correction by
the truly knowledgeable, Rick Seddon McIntosh, NM, USA -----Original
Message----- From: Rickard Parker <[log in to unmask]> To:
[log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]> Date: Wednesday, March 28,
2001 4:26 AM Subject: Re: Stetson in The Waste Land
>I pretty sure that I'm not getting the full meaning of this post but I do
>see that the part about the deograms leving out part of the thought and
>having to be supplied by the reader. I'm not going to be able to discuss
>this knowledgably but it did bring to mind that Chinese poetry can be a
>of visual art beyond the calligraphy. That is to say the poet might
>choose symbols that visually flow from one to the other or might have a
>piece of one symbol appearing in the next. This would give the poem a
>meaning different from the same one spoken (and of course dialects get in
>the way there.)
>Then I was struck that this was not much different from what some
>of sign language do. A poet in sign language attempting to be artistic
>would not try to translate a spoken or written poem as close to word for
>word as possible but would try to do it in such a way as to do a dance of
>the hands. This would be easier of course if instead of translating
>something from a spoken language the poem was composed from the first in
>Anyway, I think I'll be thinking of this ideogrammic method post from
>time to time as it has brought up a method of communication that I hadn't
> Rick Parker
>RicK Seddon wrote:
>> This Zen posting struck a cord. or is it chord. (Oh well the list is
>> to my speling :>) by now). TSE's friend, cheerleader and editor, Ezra
>> Pound, was much into Chinese poetry. His "Cathay", published in 1915,
>> free translation of poems mostly by the ancient Chinese poet Li Po.
>> Pound's study of the Fenollosa notebooks which led to "Cathay" supplied
>> Pound with the summary thinking that he needed for the "ideogrammic
>> which ties a neat knot around his ideas of Imagism and Vorticism.
>> a technical word for what the answer on the Zen list is trying to say.
>> called this relationship of words, logopoeia. He felt that logopoeia,
>> dance of intellect among words", is impossible to translate into
>> another language. Fenollosa believed that Chinese was a language
>> syntax. That the ideograms supplied the syntax.
>> My point with this longwinded exercise is that you may be closer to the
>> truth than you realize. In the ideogrammic method Images are set side
>> by side without syntax to create meaning in (not at) the boundary.
>> That meaning is totally unstated and might be incorrectly thought of as
>> between the lines". One is actually reading between the Images. TWL
>> TSE's only Imagist poem and it for sure had a Vorticist as an editor.
>> people reject the meaning they receive from the boundry and continue to
>> attempt to extract meaning directly from the Images. The isolated
>> very easily seem nonsence since the intended meaning lies not in the
>> but in the boundry.