Practice Catalogue is about––and in service of––the practices of writers and artists. It’s edited by Brandon Kreitler (unattributed posts are by the editor). Contact:
Poet Sans Self

What Pound was afraid to face (I feel) was the fact that he was not, himself, a self, that he was a bundle of borrowed definitions, including that of the poet. …[Wyndham Lewis observed] that Pound was “the curious thing, a person without a trace of originality of any sort” except the ability wear a mask, adopt a tone. “When he can get into the skin of somebody else…he becomes a lion or a lynx on the spot.”


It is true (I think) that most of Pound’s best poetry is based upon the work of someone else, and stems from his ability to release another language into English. It is what made him such an excellent editor. Time and time again, in The Cantos, amid the barren and chaotic landscape, poetry miraculously blazes up, and at the bottom of that fire a Chinese classic like Li Ki, for instance, will be found fueling it, or some other distant text. With so little spring left in his own legs, he could still rebound beautifully from someone else’s words, because they––not love or landscape or the pleasures and problems of life––were his muse. Like lighter fluid’s flame, these phrases (where, paradoxically, Pound was at last pure Pound) consume themselves without leaving a scorch, mar, or any other trace on the page. Lines like these––flames like these––”lick.”

[William Gass, “Ezra Pound”]