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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The literary Himalayas, 26 Oct 2006
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This review is from: The Cantos of Ezra Pound (New Directions Books) (Paperback)
How can you be critical about an opus which was so many decades in the writing and whose themes and methods changed between the slabs which were published piece by piece? Starting in the middle of Homer's Odssey and moving through Ovidian metamorphosis through several themes to the Russian Revolution, dropping in at the Italian Quattracento (and Lucrezia Borgia - `Madame Matter') as well as on his old pal Baldy Bacon en route (not to mention the Sigismondo cantos). He even brings in his granddad who `sweat blood' put to put that railroad... We follow the chapters on Jefferson `Nuovo Mundo' and even the Adams cantos put side by side with the Chinese history cantos. On the down side we read the fascism of the Italian Cantos, with a skull in a North African desert crying `Alamein! We will return!', and old Adolf `furious from perception'. On the other hand, we read the quiet reflections from Piza prisoner camp, follow American history intermingled with the Shu King, Confucius with modern life; and after the `rock drill', the 'thrones' showing flashes of saintly acts (eg del Mar)with flashes of the inferno. Finally, sad fragments from his depressed reflections in later life, the No-Khi wind ceremony. What can we make of this jumble of archaic snatchings and even hieroglyphics? Pound's need to change society, to battle against usury and to take example from those who lived the right way - Confucius, the Byzantines and the Sacred Edict of K'ung Hui. And to change ourselves. `Pull down thy vanity' is not the only beautiful introspective line in this maze of quotations. And we can watch the transformations take place in his `ideogram' method, where fragments are welded together in snatches to give an impression; just as Chinese characters are composed of several elements which add up to the meaning. For, obscure and complex as the Cantos are, they are undoubtedly a labour of love and an attempt to show society where it is going wrong. They are many beautiful passages in the text, and I suggest the reader wander through this book and appreciate them in their rightful place - the seven lakes canto, for example, and the canto on `lynxes', to mention but two. We can learn a lot from Pound and enjoy what he wrote, but we must make the effort. There is so much that is of great value in this huge work - it really is a modern masterpiece.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The edition to get of a key work, 14 Aug 2013
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Stephen Barber "falconer" (Oxfordshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cantos (Hardcover)
Everyone who cares for twentieth century must come to terms with Pound's Cantos and should do so at first hand. He published it in instalments over many years and never finished it so successive editions contain more and more of it. This is now surely the final edition and - barring detailed work on the text - should stand as definitive. The gap in the Cantos, namely the two wartime ones 72 and 73, written in Italian and highly provocative in their content, were suppressed for years but have now been quietly slipped in in their correct place. The Drafts and Fragments of the final Cantos are in as good a state as they ever likely to be. The names of politicians suppressed in the Hell Cantos have not yet been restored but can be supplied from the commentaries.

Faber have done Pound proud and this production is reminiscent of their palmiest days with handsome binding including a picture of Pound and an equally handsome dustjacket in the old and much loved style of Berthold Wolpe.

What of the poem itself? Well it is unfinished, and, I think, a failure as a whole. But there are many splendid passages, some long and some, as Graham Hough said long ago, 'the merest splinters'. You need to decide for yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A genius, 2 Jan 2014
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Had TS Eliot not lived, Ezra Pound would be out-and-out the greatest poet of the 20th Century. But without Pound's input on The Wasteland, it might not have put Eliot there in the first place. The Cantos are Pound's masterpiece. For anyone who is anyone interested in poetry, this is a book to own, read and re-read in order to absorb the beauty and diversity and subtlety of a true master.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Important piece of literature, 21 May 2013
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This review is from: The Cantos of Ezra Pound (New Directions Books) (Paperback)
Though I may not understand it all, not all can, I appreciate the importance of this lifelong work by Pound and shall keep working at reading it over my years as well.
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars penny for a pound, 27 Aug 2006
This review is from: The Cantos of Ezra Pound (New Directions Books) (Paperback)
the cantos of pound mark a change in modern poetry.

this edition is excellent value for money and coherent. especially for over 800 pages.
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11 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars speechless, 26 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cantos (Paperback)
what can you say about this book that hasn't already been said before and a hundred times at that. ezra pound - mad man? fascist? genius? if you have any interest in modern poetry at all you must own this book. and then laugh mockingly in the face of all these poetasters that mutilate vers libre today
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The Cantos of Ezra Pound (New Directions Books)
The Cantos of Ezra Pound (New Directions Books) by Ezra Pound (Paperback - 1 Dec 1999)
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