Berryman on Pound

If Browning makes the fastest verse in English, Pound makes the slowest, the most discrete and suave. He once said of a story in Dubliners that it was something better than a story, it was “a vivid waiting,” and the phrase yields much of his own quality. There is restlessness, but the art of the poet places itself, above all, immediately and mysteriously at the service of the passive and the elegiac, the nostalgic. The true ascendancy of this personality over any other is suggested by a singular fact: the degree in which the mantic character is absent from his poetry. He looks ahead indeed, looks ahead eagerly, but he does not feel ahead; he feels back. (…) It is the poetry of a late craftsman; of an expatriate of a failing culture

from John Berryman’s essay “The Poetry of Ezra Pound”, collected in Berryman’s indispensable The Freedom of the Poet.

"Part of the Therapy"

Louis Menand on Pound

“He was in his own way a hero of his culture, a genuine representative of both its more enlightened impulses and its self-destructive contradictions,” Moody says about Pound. This seems fair. Pound was, in the end, a poet’s poet—he looked like a poet—and, despite the shambles of his political beliefs and the limitations of his poetics, he does stand for something. His claims for literature were free of supernatural mystification, and he believed that the proper organization of language was supremely important. If you are a poet, or any serious kind of writer, you have to believe that, whether you think Pound’s formula is workable or not. Getting the words right is, at a minimum, part of the therapy.