Yeats and Pound

Ezra_Pound_by_EO_Hoppe_1920   464px-William_Butler_Yeats

We have let the 150th anniversary of the birth of W.B. Yeats on June 13th go by unmentioned.  Yes, really , 150 years, 1865. In her impressionable youth Gert was a great Yeats fan, and she still thinks he wrote some of the greatest poems in the language, even if he was a rather silly man.  Here are some slightly left-field observations, courtesy of Ezra Pound.

I remember his telling the story of his trip to Rapallo to show the manuscript of ‘The Tower’ to Ezra Pound. He stayed at the hotel and then went around and left the manuscript in a packet for Pound, accompanied by a letter saying I am an old man, this may be the last poetry I’ll ever write, it is very different from my other work – all that kind of thing – and what do you think of it? Next day he received a postcard from Ezra Pound with the one word “ putrid”. Yeats was rather amused by that. (Stephen Spender, p. 34)

He tried to learn fencing at 45, which was amusing. He would thrash around with the foils like a whale. He sometimes gave the impression of being an even worse idiot than I am.  (Ezra Pound, p. 348).

George Plimpton The Writer’s Chapbook, Viking 1989.

8 thoughts on “Yeats and Pound

  1. I went to a special Yeats day to celebrate his birthday. A rather sttange day for a man whom I would describe as strange rather than silly. Very handsome though.

  2. If you’re going to hold writers’ meannesses of spirit against them, you’re in a losing game. Dickens and Thomas Hardy spring to mind (I do hold T Hardy’s hypocrisy about his wife against him, though), and V. Woolf was pretty objectionable at times.

  3. Well said. I can sympathise with Yeats’s criticism of Maud Gonne for maintaining a purist revolutionary stance when he was willing to compromise, but not for calling her ‘a bellows full of angry wind’.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s