6.08.2007

York Staters in Poetry: Ezra Pound

In an obscure canto of the world-renown poet Ezra Pound's mildly obscure work, The Cantos, we find two references to Upstate New York:

Canto CXIV

...Gems sunned as mirrors, alternate.

These simple men who fought against jealousy,

as the man of Oneida.

Ownership! Ownership!...

...to reign, to dance in a maze,

To live a thousand years in a wink.

York State or Paris--

Nor began nor ends anything...

Pound received his masters degree from Hamilton College(Clinton, NY) in 1905, before living abroad and settling in Italy. York Staters has talked about the Oneida Community before, so I won't go into that, but he also refers to George MacLeod's Iona Community which was founded about 50 years after the Oneida Community turned into Oneida Glass and was influenced by the the Oneida theory of living spirituality.

Because of his seemingly stream-of-conscious writing I can't really tell you what he's talking about; since he starts by quoting Voltaire then laughing at a Scottish economist who died in poverty, then ended this section with the dream of a young fruit seller who wants to write. Oh yeah, there's a chinese character, some french and italian too in this rather short three page poem.

Submitted by Joe

Editors Note: Thanks to everyone who has inquired as to our whereabouts...we're still here! Co-editor Jesse is in Cornwall, United Kingdom, doing research, and I have been bogged down with work and lack of internet connection. But there are good things on the horizon...after our summer slumber, York Staters will awaken again as Jesse returns from overseas and I relocate to Ithaca where I'll be starting graduate study at Cornell in the fall. In the mean time, posting will be light, but if you have a submission you'd like to make to York Staters, we're happy to post it. Check out the submissions guidelines and send us a post, or send any ideas, or just a hello to york.staters[at]gmail.com.

3 comments:

Jennifer BB said...

I'm glad you'll be back--you've been missed! Good luck in your new venture at Cornell (my alma mater). Ithaca should inspired some interesting posts!

ace said...

Not to sound pedantic, but Pound was actually an Idaho native.

Also, technically this isn't stream-of-consciousness writing.

Love the blog!

Steve said...

Right on Ace. EP's long poem is about, among other things, monetary theory. In this passage, he's considering concepts of ownership, undoubtedly inspired by a true upstate native, Lewis Henry Morgan, whose work also inspired Engels and Marx.