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Selected Poems (Paper Only) (New Directions Paperbook) Paperback – 1 Feb 1957

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Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; Margin Notes edition (1 Feb. 1957)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811201627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811201629
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,265,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Ezra Pound remains a problem: at his best a superb poet and one of the finest poetic craftsmen ever (I don't think I've read a line of his without learning something about how to write poetry,) at worst still interestingly idiosyncratic; as a critic by turns brilliantly insightful and stubbornly wrong-headed; as a translator repeatedly devising versions which for all their faults indelibly alter our perception of the originals; as a literary activist and promoter, responsible for fostering more talent than any other person in the modern English-speaking world; and, notoriously, in his politics one of the most pernicious figures of his century. Though there is a later New Selected Poems and Translations (Second Edition) (New Directions Paperbook) 2nd (second) Edition by Pound, Ezra [2010]in print, personally, for those who want a brief, judicious selection of Pound's poems, I'd recommend instead this this old New Directions selection which, though it seems to be out of print, is available used. In particular, if you haven't read much of Pound and want to start exploring his poetry, this is the best book to get.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 25 reviews
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
. 30 Dec. 2004
By jjsnlee - Published on
Format: Paperback
Hard to reconcile Ezra Pound the poet, with such a beautiful sense for the rhythms and melodies of the English language, and so sensitive to his time and place in the literary tradition, with the man who broadcast propaganda for the Italians during the Second World War, whose preference was for the Fascists because of their sense of style. Mishima also comes to mind, with impeccable aesthetics, totalitarian politics.

In any case if the politico-poetic schism doesn't bother you, this slim collection is a wonderful introduction to this important Modernist. His Cantos were overreaching and sprawling -- some of the poems here have the glint of lyric perfection. I am especially fond of the Cathay poems, and of those Exile's Letter is my favorite. His translation is crystalline, the words flow like water, of all his poems, translations or otherwise, I feel this is among the most perfect -- not for greatness of idea or emotion, but for its subtlety and lyricism.

He reaches such moments in parts of the Pisan Cantos ("What thou lovest well remains, the rest is dross"), but it's a bit funny that he had T.S. Eliot whittle down The Waste Land, but he himself didn't have the discipline to pare down his own work. This might be why his translations (The Seafarer, The River Merchant's Wife) seem to be more anthologized, and considered the more accessible portion of his work -- the limits of these poems were already in place, holding his ambition in check, thus allowing him to concentrate on the language, which he really did so well.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The great Eliot at his greatest 3 Oct. 2001
By A Williams - Published on
Format: Paperback
T.S. Eliot is a major figure in 20th century literature for criticism, publishing and poetry. On the critical front he is known for his �rediscovery� of the Metaphysical poets Donne and Marvell, his collections of essays �The Sacred Wood� and �The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism�; as a publisher he was a director of Faber and built up a stable of �modern� poets such as Auden and Ezra Pound.
It is, however, for his poetry that he will surely last and this collection gives a marvelous selection of his works. The first poem in this collection �The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock� is a masterwork with superb imagery and a marvelous sense of humour and irony as it gives us the words of a man who seems much older than Eliot must have been when he wrote it, it was first published while he was in his twenties.
While some of his poetry seems to miss the mark as too dense and perhaps overly constructed others have rich layers of imagery and allusion that reward a little effort and rereading with a sense of large and vivid meaning and depth. �The Waste Land�, one of Eliot�s most famous poems and responsible, along with other poems of the period such as �The Hollow Men�, in giving Eliot a reputation as one of the �disillusioned� modern poets. Eliot denied this, saying he gave �the illusion of being disillusioned.� �The Wasteland is four hundred lines long and is quite enigmatic, some scholars have said that it may have been less enigmatic before Ezra Pound helped and convinced Eliot to cut it back from an original 800 lines.
The last major work in this volume is �The Four Quartets.� It is impossible in a short review to summarise the brilliance of these works. Written in the late thirties they are a masterful summation of the concerns of Eliot�s earlier works and a culmination of his examination of his own personal Christianity.
Between these three peaks are many works almost their equal. �Sweeney Agonistes�, �Ash Wednesday�, �The Hollow Men�, and excerpts from the �The Rock� among them.
To conclude this collection is a wonderful summary of the poetic works of one of the major literary figures of the twentieth century. For a complete overview of Eliot you should read at least one of his plays (�Murder In The Cathedral� is my favourite) and one of his volumes of critical essays such as the two mentioned earlier. I would recommend this volume to anyone who enjoys poetry, particularly those who enjoy reading poetry over and over again.
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Excellent selection of Pound's poems 30 May 2003
By Katie - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is a very good introduction to the work of Ezra Pound. There's a little bit of everything! You get some of his earlier, shorter poems, like "In a Station of the Metro," some translations, like "The Seafarer," or "Homage to Sextus Propertius," the famous Mauberley sequence (this book includes both the "original" poem "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley" and Pound's later poem "Mauberley" whereas most books reprint only the earlier poem), and, of course, some of the cantos.
I'm pretty sure that Pound made the selections for this edition himself, though the editor adds a few cantos. Ezra Pound's work is exciting and really important for poets writing today. It's impossible to see how we got to where we are now without reading Ezra Pound.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A very good collection of Eliot's poems 28 Nov. 2004
By butterflyeffect67 - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you can only get one book of poems, get this one. It has the most important poems before "Four Quartets". If you want more,get also "Four Quartets" and "Murder in the Cathedral" or, even better, get the collected poems.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The strange and haunting visions of T.S Eliot 16 May 2006
By Menachem Rephun - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It took me sometime before I could genuinely come to understand and appreciate his poetry: yet, nevertheless, the writings of American-born, anglocized author T.S Eliot have always held a peculiar fascination for me, and, it seems, for a number of other writers and laypeople as well. From the personal yet somehow universal, melancholy and self-doubting music of "The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock" to the wild, multi-cultural, history spanning visions of urban chaos in "The Wasteland", Eliot's oeuvre is rich in religious, political, and philosophical themes, and played an enormous role in shaping the development of poetry in the twentieth-century (not to mention, on an obviously less signficant level, my own writing). Reading Eliot's serious poetry, however, requires a great deal of analytical prowess and is often a rather depressing experience (particularly in the beautiful "Prufrock"): nevertheless, those with patience will find that it is richly rewarding and can be appreciated on a superificial level simply for the entrancing rhythm of the music and haunting nature of the imagery, which, though informed by a number of sources, including Shakespeare, Dante, and Baudelaire, are written in a voice which is always distinctive and wholly original.
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