25 may. 2006

I hate the "Pound-Williams Tradition." Don't you?

I respect all the poets in this so-called tradition, I even like the tradition itself for the most part. What I don't like is the idea that there is this single line of transmission. I would rather have a Pound-Williams-Roussel-Artaud-Stein-Breton-Rilke-Brecht-Larrea-Vallejo-Yeats-Stevens-Cavafy-Pessoa-HD-Djuna Barnes-María Zambrano-Char tradtion. Maybe that name's a little too long, but you get the point. Why measure poets by their proximity to Pound and Williams? El mundo es muy ancho.

Surely a lot of poets get overvalued because they are in the P-W Tradition. They play for our team. PW is worse than PC.

8 comentarios:

Ray Davis dijo...

I didn't even know they _were_ a tradition! What a bizarre pairing. Would a "follower" of this tradition expatriate for six months of every year, like Persephone? A "Yeats-Pound" tradition is a lot easier to picture: snobs who chant.

Jonathan dijo...

Well there was an actual scholarly journal published at the University of Maine and devoted to poets in the Pound-Williams tradition quite explicitly. I can't come up with the name off the top of my head, but I'm thinking it starts with an S. It's the premise behind the whole "Man and Poet" series at Maine too. Oppen, Man and Poet, Williams, Man and Poet, Niedecker, Woman and Poet. Strictly Pound, Williams, Objectivists, plus Black Mountain.

Ray Davis dijo...

I forgot that combination showed up in the Sagetrieb subtitle after a while. (Or, in the two issues closest at hand, "the Pound-H.D-Williams Tradition" -- no period after the "D".) And a simple Google shows that the formula (minus H.D., of course) at some point became a commonplace which I've just skimmed past until you focused my attention on it.

So now I know the "tradition" you mean. The names selected to represent it are so arbitrary, though. I also find "Pound-Williams-Zukofsky", "Pound-Williamns-Reznikoff", "Pound-Williams-Stein", "Whitman-Pound-Williams"... They should've just said "Objectivists & Their Pals", or "What Hugh Kenner Likes", or "Americans with Big Ideas who Never Got Rich". Or Robert Duncan's contribution, "that Marianne Moore, Pound, / Williams, H.D., Stein, Zukofsky / Bunting, S.J. Perse, surrealist / Dada staind pot."

Bryan Newbury dijo...

Isn't it all a matter of degree? Who could be so larger than life out of the 20th Century?

Jonathan dijo...

Sagetrieb, that's it. I guess the added HD to include a woman and place the origins of the tradition at Penn where the three first met.

There are a lot of poets who are larger than life aside from Pound and Williams. It all depends on one's perspective.

Bob dijo...

I believe it was originally the Pound-ELIOT tradition and indicated the panhistorical, panlinguistic, super-educated paths the two made. Eliot's stock fell in the seventies, Williams' rose, Pound's stayed the same, I think.

Jonathan dijo...

I thought I'd heard "Yeats-Eliot tradition" quite a bit, more than Pound/Eliot. I googled the phrase and the first thing that came up was an article entitled "Spanish Poetry and Anglo-Ameican Modernism: The Legacy of Andrew Debicki," by Jonathan Mayhew.

You could find the most improbable combination of poets and see where the limits of these traditions lie.

Bob dijo...

I like that phrase: "the limits of these traditions." How far away do you have to be in order to be *outside*?