Ezra Pound: Canzoni

(1113 words)
  • Jon Elek (Queen Mary, University of London)

Canzoni, Ezra Pound’s fifth book of poetry, is a peculiar one; it is perhaps even more so than A Lume Spento (1908), which had, in a sense, announced his arrival on London’s exciting literary scene. What is most startling about Canzoni, which translates as “song” in medieval Italian, is the disparity, with respect to tone, diction and style, between its opening and concluding sequences. The poems in the first two thirds encapsulate the torpor, affectation, nostalgia, obscurantism and preciousness that so often mar Pound’s early writing. It is unsurprising, then, that the Westminster Gazette called Canzoni a “medley of pretension” or that Charles Granville termed it &…

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Elek, Jon. "Canzoni". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 March 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6100, accessed 26 November 2015.]