Richard Parker - News from Afar: Ezra Pound and Some Contemporary British Poetries


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“‘…the full shock of what a fascist s.o.b. Pound is caught up with me’—thus Charles Olson after one of his several encounters with Ezra Pound at St Elizabeths Hospital.  Olson’s “shock” has continued to reverberate in the work of many British poets as they have sought to weigh the dazzling innovative force of Pound’s poetry against the rash brutality of his politics. This has been a difficult and  contradictory legacy, but one which, as this fascinating collection of texts so amply demonstrates, has also proved a spur to some of Britain’s best experimental writers in ways that we are only now beginning to appreciate.”   —Peter Nicholls

Richard Parker - News from Afar: Ezra Pound and Some Contemporary British Poetries

Published 2015. Paperback, 330pp, 9x6ins
ISBN 978-1-84861-364-5 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]
“The Pound event was an upheaval of the whole field of British poetry. It is still very much alive, in lines of differentiation that striate the work of contemporary poets. Pound’s work was a total stance towards poetry and the world, a fierce rejection not only of mediocrity but of a ‘botched civilisation’, and through it we can pose some of the most vital questions concerning poetry that’s contemporary with the historical present. 
Sixties poets such as Eric Mottram and J.H. Prynne worked through the difficulty of wrenching apart from the totalizing and (despicable) fascist tendencies of the Cantos what are still some of the finest discriminations of prosody and the visible to be found in the language. And this sense of a complete and uncompromising project recurs in Allen Fisher, Gavin Selerie and others, who have sought to make poetry a vehicle of knowledge while refusing to wall off the outside, the not-known remainder which is what permits any system to work. To make the composition itself a form of understanding, the demand of Poundian syntax, continues in current work (e.g. Keston Sutherland) but in a context – triumphant capitalism – where the hardest struggle is to take the upheavals that poetry is capable of into every level of the language – the Poundian lesson. 
      This is a book that travels that road, on the lookout for the signs that speak most strongly to the now. Merciless war against mediocrity, sharpest eye and ear for syntax, awareness of culture in its relation to politics, use of translation as workshop for change, suspension of limits between prose and poetry, opening of poetry to what its bourgeois practice excludes: here is the generic Pound, present to contemporary needs. The struggle for a practice of resistance, discrimination of antagonisms, with all the resources poetry is capable of, here is the Pound alive in current poetry. Pound is at the core. There is, as this book shows, no way round that.”  —William Rowe

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