Ezra Pound, Canzoni

Jon Elek (Queen Mary, University of London)
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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 “a lamentable failure”, adding that “Mr Pound is a poet though as yet has produced little but…

1107 words

Citation: Elek, Jon. "Canzoni". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 March 2005 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6100, accessed 20 June 2024.]

6100 Canzoni 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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