Friday, January 20, 2012

How Pound and Eliot Changed Modernist Poetry

File:Leathad na Cròice - - 171491.jpg
 "Leathad na Cròice"
By Richard Webb (2006).
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Poems like "Hugh Selwyn Mauberly" and "The Wasteland" seem to embody the standard of Modernist poetry. Other Modernist poets like Moore, Millay, and Williams share the aesthetic element of Modernism, which is to allow each line of prose to fall naturally and playfully. However, the sensibility of most Modernist poetry hardly feels playful; poems by Pound and Eliot seem to share their dark perspectives of the world, their thoughts on existentialism, and other feelings through the use of their experiences and memories.

Eliot uses the first person perspective heavily in his poems, such as 'I have', 'I read', or 'I will show' in "The Wasteland". For example, these lines can be interpreted as a memory or experience of Eliot's because of the way they are presented to the reader:

"My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went."

File:Ezra Pound.jpg
"Ezra Pound"
By Alvin Langdon Coburn
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Though he does not use the same first person perspective as Eliot, Pound also seems to reflect on his own life in "Hugh Selwyn Mauberly" when he writes:

"For three years, out of key with his time,
He strove to resuscitate the dead art
Of poetry; to maintain "the sublime"
In the old sense. Wrong from the start –"

By basing their poetry from their own thoughts and experiences, Eliot and Pound bring a cultural disparity to their work, as every human can bring their cultural baggage to the table, so to speak. Because of that disparity, the Modernist poems contain a sense of realism that is relatable on a much wider scope.

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