This is the second or third time or fourth time…ehem this year I confess I will break my promise not to buy any new books until I finish the old ones.
It seems that every time I browse around Carcanet´s page or receive their newsletter I just can´t help but be tempted. Their books of modern and classic poetry in English and in translation, as well as their range of inventive fiction, Lives and Letters and literary criticism is quite outstanding.
But their last addition, “Ezra Pound’s Posthumous Cantos” edited by Massimo Bacigalupo, is really beyond me or beyond my capacity to resist. Everyone who knows my poetic tastes knows I have a weakness for Imagist poetry. Ever since I found that second-hand copy of “Imagist Poetry” introduced and edited by Peter Jones and published by Penguin, there has been no turning back.
Ezra Pound in Paris
It was a sort of epiphanic moment and ever since their, The Imagists´, poetry has accompanied my writing, refocusing my creative view and sharing my work space. So here you have me, yet again unable to resist this irresistible book falling into the thralls of temptation again. And maybe even inciting my fellow poets to follow me.
Before I add an extract from Carcanet´s newsletter, which they have kindly allowed me to do, I would like to introduce just a brief paragraph on what William Carlos Williams had to say about his friend Ez, as he sometimes called him.
“Ezra never explained or joked about his writing as I might have done, but was always cryptic, unwavering and serious in his attitude toward it. He joked crudely, about anything but that. I was fascinated by the man. He was the livest, most intelligent and unexplainable thing I´d ever seen, and the most fun…….” (The Autobiography of William Carlos Williams).
Ezra Pound’s Posthumous Cantos collects unpublished pages of his great poem, drawn from manuscripts held in the archive at Yale’s Beinecke Library and elsewhere. They are assembled by Pound’s Italian translator, the critic and scholar Massimo Bacigalupo, into a companion book to the Cantos, running from 1917 to 1972 and including the Cantos he wrote in Italian in 1944-5. An Italian edition was published in 2002 and revised in 2012. This is the first English edition of a crucial part of the Pound canon. Posthumous Cantos is arranged to reflect the eight phases of the Cantos’ composition. Pound’s writing suffered the consequences of the turbulent history of his century. World War I left the cultural world he came to Europe for in ruins; and the aftermath of the World War II in which he took a contrary side, made his work, like his life, discontinuous, a sequence of brilliant moments and profound ruptures.
Posthumous Cantos by Ezra Pound is available to order with 10% discount and free UK P &P from www.carcanet.co.uk
Here´s a taster:
Yet from my tomb such flame of love arise
that whoso passes shall be warmed thereby;
let stray cats curl there
where no tomb stone is
& girls’ eyes sparkle, at the unmarked spot
let rancours wane
& a slow drowse of peace pervade who passes.
Extract from ‘VI, Pisa, 1945’, from Posthumous Cantos by Ezra Pound, released this month by Carcanet Press