Print

Print


Dear Nancy,
    I don't find anything surprising in what you quote from Levertov or
anything that is in opposition to what I posted, so I don't see you
disagreeing with me.  I never said all books were shaped in any
particular way.  Perhaps you lost the thread from Carrol to me.
Nevertheless, thank you for replying.

Marcia

Nancy Gish wrote:

>Dear Marcia,
>
>I think I would have agreed with you until I interviewed Denise
>Levertov, and she made a very major point about the way she produces
>books.  She distinguishes one of her books as having been written as a
>book and the others not:
>
>"Aside from TO STAY ALIVE--which was an enterprise, a long poem--none of
>my books has been, while the poems were being written, thought of in
>that way, "I am writing a book. "  And people kept on saying to me, "Are
>you working on your new book?"  And I say, "Well, not exactly.  I
>suppose eventually they'll be in a book, but I'm not writing a book."
>Some people look on that differently.  One can see from the nature of
>some books that that is so, but I don't work that way, with that one
>exception of TO STAY ALIVE."
>
>I think that may be a reason for many of the differences in reading TWL.
> It is clear that, by 1921, he was composing a long poem--and he had
>thought of it that way since at least 1919.  But much of it was written
>long before and in separate bits.  Pound seems to have pulled the "book"
>out of the many poems to their mutual satisfaction, but it did not get
>written that way except, arguably, for section V.
>
>If you are interested in the Levertov account, it is in Jewel Brooker's
>edition of CONVERSATIONS WITH DENISE LEVERTOV (U Mississippi P,1998).
>It is actually an interview on her late Christian poems and how they
>connect with feminism, but she also talks a lot about how she writes.
>Cheers,
>Nancy
>
>
>
>>>>[log in to unmask] 02/21/04 10:10 AM >>>
>>>>
>>>>
>Carrol Cox wrote:
>
>
>
>>It was around 1912 or so I believe that Pound pointed out in a letter
>>
>>
>or
>
>
>>a review or something (this is not my field of specialization, which is
>>Milton & Pope, and I haven't tried to remember or research anything
>>systematically) that Yeats wrote books not collections of disparate
>>poems. (I hope I've got my dates right, because any date later than
>>
>>
>1915
>
>
>>fucks up my argument here.) That is, by 1915 Pound definitely had in
>>
>>
>his
>
>
>>head the idea of a book of poems which, though separately written,
>>nevertheless constituted a _book_, not merely a collection. I've got an
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>Carrol,
>    Why does it matter to your argument (that _Lustra_ is conceived of
>as an integrated, coherent volume) when Pound wrote on Yeats?  Books of
>"separately written" poems that are "not merely collections" have been
>around for a long time.  Pound would have known some of them, no?
>Virgil's _Eclogues_, Dryden _Fables Ancient and Modern_ (though I'd put
>an asterisk next to this-- Pound may not have had an edition available
>to him in which the poems appear as Dryden arranged them), Housman's _ A
>Shropshire Lad_, various sonnet sequences.  There are medieval Japanese
>court anthologies that Pound may have known or known of that are
>compiled from many authors, living across many years, some of which read
>as integrated books.  _The Metamorphoses_ becomes a seamless song by
>dint of Ovid's making it one.  The material is inherently disparate.
>    I don't know what  "separately written" poems are.  Poems under
>individual titles?  Poems written without a thought of a whole?  If
>this, how can you know that poems didn't suggest other poems or that in
>the writing Pound, being a single person, doesn't return to himself as a
>common source for the poems.  The phrase makes no sense to me.
>    I can feel you arguing that the few volumes I've mentioned wouldn't
>have been seen by Pound as _books_.  But the point is that the idea of
>arranging poems to create some sort of whole was hardly new in the world
>in or around 1912, so your argument needed be pinned to that date.
>
>Marcia
>
>