BK. Ezra Pound

161. Bush, Ronald. ‘The “Rhythm of Metaphor”: Yeats, Pound, Eliot, and the Unity of  Image in Postsymbolist Poetry’. In Allegory, Myth, and Symbol, edited by Morton W. Bloomfield. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1981.

  ‘A series of irrecoverable  conversations . . . centered around the Noh.’  

Bush’s insight here is central to further understanding of the role of Japanese subjects, in particular the nô, in the birth and development of Anglo-American and Irish modernism. The essay demonstrates that ‘a series of irrecoverable  conversations . . . centered around the Noh’ took place among Pound, Yeats, and Eliot sometime in 1916, and that these ‘provided all three poets occasion to ponder the value of controlling images in the poetry they were preparing to write’. Bush traces the original insight involved to Pound, who in preparing the famous Vorticist manifesto that appeared in Fortnightly Review in September 1914 (12) had set aside his work with the nô, but returned to it as he was completing the Vorticism piece, and ‘a spark flew between the two projects’, leading to the last-minute addition of the footnote raising the question of whether ‘a long imagiste or vorticist poem’ is possible, and answering it affirmatively by pointing to the unity of image ‘enforced by movement and music’ in the nô. ‘We may regard Pound’s Cantos, Bush contends, ‘as a long commentary on the excited question and feverish reply in that footnote’. From this, Bush continues in discussion of Pound’s second connection of ‘Unity of Image’ in the nô with the long imagiste poem, in ‘The Classical Stage of Japan’ (17f), Yeats’s discussion of the ‘playing upon a single metaphor’ in the nô in introduction to Certain Noble Plays (BL11), and Eliot’s cogent elaboration of the point in the nearly-forgotten ‘The Noh and the Image’ (92b), which appeared in the Egoist in August 1917. Bush notes that ‘the effect of the Noh plays’ was not as ‘sharp’ in Yeats and Eliot’s poetry as in Pound’s, but the closing analysis of ‘the shaping power of the controlling image’ in The Wasteland raises compelling issues related to this study that have yet to be explored. See also 87, 112, and 165.



Home | Top | Previous | Next

Previous | Next


Creative Commons License