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TSE  December 2003

TSE December 2003

Subject:

Re: E Pound as A Dervish

From:

Richard Seddon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Wed, 31 Dec 2003 11:55:48 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (83 lines)

Marcia

I agree.  Blast was intended by Wyndham Lewis to be aggressively bombastic
and to irritate people.  Pound fit very well into this concept.  I only used
Blast because Peter had introduced it.  As with many "cause" oriented people
Pound uses many metaphors deliberately intended to excite his readers.
Reading "Blast" is like reading a proto "Howl".   Unlike "ABC of Reading" or
"Guide to Kulchur" it was more intended as an assault than a defensible
position.

Leon Surette has suggested that Pound's idea of the Image is occultist.  He
may be right.   It is one of the difficulties in trying to understand
exactly what he meant by Imagism and Vorticism.  Surette, of course,  is one
of the leading Pound authorities and was honored by being asked to give the
key note address at this year's TSE society meeting.

I can't find it quickly in my notes but Ford Madox Ford, one of the original
Imagists, remarked (I paraphrase) that he never understood exactly what
Pound was talking about when he (Pound) was railing on and on in a very loud
voice about the Image.

I don't think there is any significance to Pound's misspelling.  Although
his spelling was often idiosyncratic this seems simply a careless mistake.
I just didn't wanted to have it attributed to my carelessness which is too
familiar to all.

I think the Image might be easier for someone like me who is coming to it
relatively ignorant.  If Pound tells me the Image (big I) isn't an image
(little i) this distinction becomes a matter of study for me.  It is not a
matter of intellectual reorientation which I think it might be for a student
with more elaborate background in literature.

Several points on an Imagist, not Amygist, poem:
1) Pound's Image is not really a noun.  I think of it as a verb having some
characteristics of a noun.  See Fenollosa's essay for an elaboration on this
concept.  See also Hulme's notes on the philosophy of Bergson.
2) The Imagist poem on first reading results in non-language cognition.
Subsequent readings have pre-knowledge contaminations.
3) An Imagist poem involves intuition on the part of the reader.  There is a
mind movement, an "ah hah" on the part of the reader.
4) The Imagist poem involves a metamorphosis of understanding on the part of
the reader
5) The "complex" that Pound refers to is the reader's.  It is not part of
the poem.
6) "Charged language" is the key to exercising the reader's "complex".  The
act or process of exercising the complex by charged language is the Image.
7) I see no reason why the "charged language" cannot be a metaphor or
analogy.  When a metaphor is used in an Imagist way to exercise the complex
it becomes part of the Image.   Pound does not ever say that a metaphor can
be used to trigger the complex but then he doesn't say it can't
8) Metaphors and analogies have direct language equivalents.  The Imagist
poem does not.  It's effect is not as predictable and is originally
non-language.

"In a Station of the Metro" is often used as an Imagist example

"In a Station of the Metro"

The apparition   of these faces   in the crowd;
Petals    on a wet, black     bough.

(I have used Pound's original word spacing not the usually printed ones)
The reader reads the poem is confused, goes back to the title and says "Ah
hah, the train has just passed through a station and in the momentary flash
of light the author has seen several faces almost like a strobe light".  The
"Ah hah" is the moment of the Image.  The complex being exercised by the
Image is present in any person who has ever ridden a subway.  To many in the
Southwest the poem would be meaningless.

Richard Aldington, another of the original Imagists, wrote an interesting
parody of this poem.  It is title" IX" and is the 9th poem in a brief
collection of other parodies
                               IX
The apparition    of these poems     in a crowd
white faces          in a black               dead faint

Aldington's poem has no Image of its own yet uses many of the same words of
Pound's poem and uses the same word spacing.   It is pure parody and so has
no charged language of it's own.  It's intent is "charged" with meaning but
the language is not.

Rick Seddon
McIntosh, NM

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