On this day in 1972, poet Ezra Pound died in Italy, where he had become something of a recluse. Pound is best remembered for his encyclopedic epic poem, The Cantos, which he worked on for nearly fifty years.
Pound’s work can often be described as Imagist writing. Imagism is a movement in poetry which derived its technique from classical Chinese and Japanese poetry. Pound once described this precise yet lyrical technique, saying, “compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of the metronome. While The Cantos are, without a doubt, his legacy, his collection of poems from 1920 entitled Umbra, is not to be passed up if you are a fan of his style. His impact on the poetic world is palpable, whether or not you are critical of his style. Carl Sandburg once said of Pound;
"All talk on modern poetry, by people who know, ends with dragging in Ezra Pound somewhere. He may be named only to be cursed as wanton and mocker, poseur, trifler and vagrant. Or he may be classed as filling a niche today like that of Keats in a preceding epoch. The point is, he will be mentioned."
This evening, take a moment to look at life - from the most delicate falling leaf to the most grimy of railroad tracks. Try to write a poem about both things in just two lines. It’s quite a challenge but rather rewarding if you have the patience to see it through.
Write on in peace, Mr. Pound!
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