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TSE  March 2001

TSE March 2001

Subject:

Re: the Uranian muse again

From:

"Richard Seddon" <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 1 Mar 2001 16:12:18 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (189 lines)

Nancy:

The point was not a direct one and I should have amplified.  Pound is,
perhaps carelessly, often thought of as a precise poet.  He was a sparse
poet.  He in fact criticized his hero Yeats for the precise use of symbols.
He was much opposed to a one to one correlation of idea and metaphor.  He
supported variable use of metaphor,  once describing proper use in algebraic
terms.  The metaphor as Pound used it could take on variable meanings
depending  on context.  My point in the quote was that Pound very much
supported vagueness as long as the poet was precise about his/her vagueness.
I would venture to agree with you on the preciseness of what Pound says but
would not agree with you or the others on the necessary assignment of the
"Uranian Muse" as a allusion  to homosexuality.   It would be this exact use
of "permament metaphor" that Pound opposed and thought to be symbolism.  Yip
in his "Ezra Pound's Cathay" devotes an entire chapter to Pound's ambiguity
over "precision and suggestion".  This chapter explains much about how Pound
used images and ideas.  Pound used inwardly acting images that overlayed
each other and mutually defined each other.  Pound would have had no problem
with describing TSE's  supposed homosexuality in precise terms.  He would
not have used a permament symbol  (Uranian) to do it.  "Uranian", must have
some indirect and suggestive meaning controlled by the context of the poem.
That is why I recently suggested Tiresias as the Uranian Muse.  An idea that
was soundly rejected by you among others.

Rick Seddon
McIntosh, NM, USA


Rick Seddon
McIntosh, NM, USA
-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 10:54 AM
Subject: Re: the Uranian muse again


Dear Rick,

No doubt this is appropo, what of what?  I'm sorry to say I do not see how
it
addresses my point.

Nancy



Date sent:      Thu, 1 Mar 2001 08:59:11 -0700
Send reply to:  [log in to unmask]
From:           "Richard Seddon" <[log in to unmask]>
To:             <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:        Re: the Uranian muse again

Nancy:

In his essay "The Serious Artist", Pound states "By good art I mean art
that bears a true witness,  I mean the art that is most precise.  You can
be wholly precise in representing a vagueness.  You can be wholly a liar
in pretending that the particular vagueness was precise in its outline."
_Literary Essays_ page 44.

Rick Seddon
McIntosh, NM, USA
-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 7:39 AM
Subject: Re: the Uranian muse again


For the record, and I do have Pound's ditty in front of me, the lines go
as follows:

These are the poems of Eliot
By the Uranian Muse begot;
A Man their Mother was,
A Muse their Sire.

How did the printed Infancies result
>>>From Nuptials thus doubly difficult?

If you must needs enquire
Know diligent Reader
That on each Occasion
Ezra performed the caesarean Operation.
**************************************************

I, at least, fail to see the relevant allusions to astronomy, though the
male- male copulation (and marriage) is quite explicit since the Muse is
also made male along with Eliot the male mother.  Pound's male-nurse role
is simply a third to make the seemingly impossible birth possible:  they
just managed it all by themselves.  There is every reason to read this as
what it so explicitly states and none at all, as far as I can see,
arbitrarily to drag in astronomy, which has no connection at all with what
is being described unless the Muse of astronomy was male and also a
progenitor of poems. [Urania is, in the note below, of course female; it
is the transgender image that Pound makes central.]

Moreover, the long history of male writers using birthing metaphors can be
read very differently from simple humorous bonding.  The question is why
it takes that form.

Nancy




Date sent:      Wed, 28 Feb 2001 20:16:12 -0700
Send reply to:  [log in to unmask]
From:           "Richard Seddon" <[log in to unmask]>
To:             <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:        Re: the Uranian muse again

Pat:

Good thought abut Urania in Purgatorio.  Interestingly the "Temple
Classics" edition of "Purgatorio" that TSE carried in his pocket puts that
canticle thusly:

Now 'tis meet that Helicon for me stream forth
     and Urania aid me with her choir to set in verse
     things hard to conceive.

Note the last word "conceive" fits nicely into the context of your
reading.

The note for those lines states:

"Helicon was in reality a _mountain_ in _Boeotia_ sacred to the muses
(from which _sprang_ two mountains associated with them--Aganippe and
Hippocrene).  Urania---the Muse of astronomy and heavenly things."

Rick Seddon
McIntosh, NM, USA
    -----Original Message-----
    From: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
    To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
    Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 7:01 PM
    Subject: the Uranian muse again


    Steve,

    Maybe we need to review Pound's "Uranian muse"poem again. Urania
was
    the muse of astronomy, and one of her functions was to elevate human
    thought--to encourage us to, so to speak, look at the stars. She's
    mentioned in that capacity by Milton, Spenser, and many other authors,
    and she also turns up a lot in paintings. Here's one url from among
    many.

    http://www.eliki.com/portals/fantasy/circle/urania.html

    I'm not questioning that some gay men regarded themselves as a "third
    sex" and wanted to be called Uranians (after the planet rather than
    the muse). But that goes back no earlier than the mid-1800s, and
    there's a much longer tradition of Urania as the muse of astronomy.

    Maybe Pound at least was playing with double meanings, and he did
    mention the muse, not the planet. If Pound thought TWL was a
    masterpiece, it makes sense for him to say it must have been inspired
    by the Uranian muse, the muse that elevates our thoughts and inspires
    us to look at the stars. A little nod to Dante, maybe, because each
    Cantica of the Commedia ends with the word "stelle" (stars).

    Or maybe more than a little nod. At Eliot's funeral, Pound said, "His
    was the true Dantescan voice." If Pound thought of Eliot as Dantescan,
    it makes sense to invoke the Uranian muse, who in a sense might be
    regarded as Dante's muse. In Purg. 29.41-42, Dante asks Urania to help
    him write his poem.

    "Urania should help me with her choir
    To put in verse things difficult to ponder."

    As for all that childbirth stuff, men have always compared creativity
    to giving birth, and this might be more male-bonding  jocularity
    abolut the male "mother" (Eliot) who "gave birth" to the poem.

    I don't have Pound's ditty in front of me as I write this, and I'm not
    saying I'm sure of any answer. But let's at least reopen the case at
    some point.

    pat





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