Tuesday, January 30, 2007



Reck reminded Pound that he had influenced writers all over the world and cited Hemingway as prima facie evidence. Ginsberg joined in. "You have shown us the way. The more I read your poetry, the more convinced I am it is the best of its time. For the ear, Bill Williams told me in 1961--we were talking about prosody, and I'd asked him to explain your prosody to me--anyway, Williams said: 'Pound has a mystical ear.' Did he ever tell you that?"

"No," Pound retorted,"he never said that to me."

"Well, I'm reporting it to you now, seven years later, the judgement of the tender-eyed doctor."

Pound looked away, smiling, pleased. Ginsberg went on. He spoke again of Pound's overriding influence on twentieth century verse. But the old man would have none of it. "The intention was bad," he said."That's the trouble--anything I've done has been an accident. Any good has been spoiled by my intentions, the preoccupation with irrelevant and stupid things." And then very slowly and clearly he added, "But the worst mistake I made was that stupid, suburban prejudice of anti-Semitism. All along, that spoiled everything."

"Ah, it's lovely to hear you say that," Ginsberg responded."Well, no," he went on, "because anybody with any sense can see it as a humor, in that sense part of the drama. You manifest the process of thoughts, make a model of the consciousness. Anti-Semitism is your fuck-up, like not liking Buddhists, but it's part of the model and the great accomplishment was to make a working model of your mind. Nobody cares if it's Ezra Pound's mind but it's a mind like everybody's mind."

~EZRA POUND: THE LAST ROWER by C.David Heymann, Seaver Books 1980

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