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Tripping Out - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Tripping Out
I burned a copy of my colleague's CD collection of famous poets reading their work. Today I'm tripping out on a few things: A) the fact that Robert Frost sounds exactly like William S. Burroughs; B) the fact that William Carlos Williams almost sounds like a girl; C) the fact that Ezra Pound sounds like a pompous ass -- wait a minute, he was a pompous ass -- with a flair for the melodramatic; but, most of all, D) the fact that we have a recording of Walt Whitman reading his work, however briefly. I mean, Walt Whitman! The man was born in 1819, for crying out loud. Trippier still is the fact that his speech sounds so normal. Even though it's hard to hear, the words still come through forcefully. And he sounds neither down to earth nor pretentious. But, damn, the man died in 1892. Thank you, Thomas Edison.
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From: ex_synecdoch550 Date: November 18th, 2005 09:51 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Hearing Pound read the Usury canto in my Modernist Poetry class was a highlight for me, if only because his reading sounds exactly what I expected him and it to sound like.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 18th, 2005 10:24 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Yeah, I agree. I guess in that case I was "tripping" on the fact that I wasn't tripping! I have a number of friends who are big Pound readers. I've always thought him overrated and underwhelming relative to other big names in the Modernist canon. I strongly prefer Eliot, among the conservatives, and favor the Williams of Spring and All over the Pound of the immediate pre-Cantos period.
From: ex_synecdoch550 Date: November 19th, 2005 12:40 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I do like Pound, but you'll get no arguments from me against a preference for Eliot. "The Waste Land" is my favourite poem.
From: bobo_amargo Date: November 19th, 2005 01:26 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

. . . taking the field by force . . .

I already betrayed myself as a fan of Wallace Stevens in my no-longer-anonymous comments in the Sufjan thread a few days back, but three regal cheers for _Harmonium_ natheless.

I was never a big Pound fan, either, Charlie, but I bought a secondhand copy of the fairly recent Library of America version containing a large mass of the pre-Cantos poems, and I've been won over.

As for _Spring and All_, I read it most closely in a reading group with you et al. now ten years ago, and it was then that I became the fan of it I now am, partly due, no doubt, to your intervention. I still feel I've never been able to do justice to Williams, by which I mean this: when I'm thinking about poetry in ways theoretical, his poems are almost never instances of my generalizations. Is this just me?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 19th, 2005 05:57 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: . . . taking the field by force . . .

Maybe. I tend to think of Williams first when I'm thinking of Modernism from a theoretical perspective. But that's because his 20s work is so obviously bound up with parallel experiments in painting and photography. "The rose is obsolete. . ." is a great example.

I do like the Pound of the pre-Canto period a good deal. It's just that I get annoyed with those who believe all of Modernism, after Kenner, to be the "Pound era." Please!
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 28th, 2006 03:13 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: . . . taking the field by force . . .

Are you kidding? Pound made: 1) Eliot 2) Frost 3) any Yeats that matters 4) imagism 5) Vorticism 7) Olson 8) Poetry magazine (by London contacts and many others) and 9) the only "modern" epic of our era that combines all of history into a singular direction. Of course, it takes years to read, but it's worthwhile. Really, contrary to popular Pound-bashing, everything does relate. It's a completely accurate record of history (transcribed and sometimes translated exactly) mixed with politics, economics and the aesthetics of Vorticism.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 28th, 2006 04:01 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: . . . taking the field by force . . .

Well, since I was talking about my own taste preferences, how could I have been kidding? Post-1922 Pound generally leaves me cold. I recognize his brilliance. It's just not for me. Williams and Eliot reach me in ways that Pound does not.
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: November 19th, 2005 12:39 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
You've got to listen to Lucille Clifton at the Poetry Center. She rocks.

But Whitman??? SHIT. I have a friend here who would die for that.
katieengl From: katieengl Date: November 19th, 2005 02:10 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Thomas Edison my ass

Dont let Dr. Soren hear you thank thomas edison for anything. After an hour and a half of listening to how Thomas edison actually ran an inventors sweat shop and reaped profits for other peoples work, you cant help but hate the man. The guy who invented the phonograph on Edison's behalf actually suffered a nervous breakdown right after he finished cause he worked something like 72 hours straight to finish it in time. Edison shipped him off to a nut colony in florida and the guy killed himself i think... anyway usless info.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 19th, 2005 04:46 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: Thomas Edison my ass

Yes! David Soren makes quite a compelling case against Edison simply on the basis of his own intense hatred for the man. What troubles me is that I have never ONCE heard anyone else validate those claims. With someone as famous as Edison, you'd think there'd be mounds of information available proving him to be a huckster and slavedriver and that the debate might even have infiltrated the public consciousness (the way we have mountains of literature on the Shakespeare/Bacon debate, some of which cater to laypeople). I don't buy Soren's comment that Edison "simply hired the best biographers and that's why nobody knows." I've always wanted at least SOMEBODY else (other than a Soren student) to say that they'd heard the Edison-as-thief supposition, because whenever I bring it up, I'm made to look like a loon and then I can't find a whole lot of evidence to clear me of that loon distinction.
frostedfuckhead From: frostedfuckhead Date: November 19th, 2005 03:46 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
this doesn't relate to this thread but i thought you'd get a kick out of it after your bruce springsteen thread.

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