THE EZRA POUND SOCIETY OF JAPAN
37th Annual Conference at the Kansai University on 31 October 2015
Registration (12:30~ )
I. Opening Address (13:00~13:05)
Shigeyoshi Hara (President, Ezra Pound Society of Japan)
II. Sessions (13:05~14:35)
1. Imagination of “Chthonian” Realm: Goddesses in Pound’s Poetry (13:05~13:50)
Sayuri Minakuchi (Rikkyo University Graduate School)
Chair: Yoshiko Kita (Chuo University)
Critic Peter Liebregts points out that Ezra Pound’s first published collection of poems, A Lume Spento, is “(re)united with the forces of Nature.” In this presentation, I would like to take a closer look at goddesses, female figures, as “chthonian” residents, and identify “the forcesof Nature” with fluid power circulating between heaven and hell.
One of the poems in A Lume Spento, “Anima Sola,” exemplifies this because there are two strong powers, one of which is rooted in chthonian realm and the other of which is heading for the upper world. The Greek goddesses, the Eumenides, represent the chthonian power, and the narrator, flying up to heaven, represents the rising power. These two representations manifest the fluidity of power.
It is well known that for a long time Pound had a strong interest in chthonian mother-daughter goddesses, Demeter and Persephone, and we can see some associations between Pound’s long-term interest in these goddesses and “Anima Sola.” The most striking is that all goddesses bring the fluid power circulating between heaven and hell, and furthermore Pound paid a careful attention to the chthonian Eumenides as well as the chthonian mother-daughter. There are two primary original texts of the Eumenides by Euripides and Aeschylus, but Pound adopted the powerful Eumenides of Euripides, not the kindly goddesses of Aeschylus. From this poem “Anima Sola,” we see Pound initiate the journey of the imagination of chthonian goddesses.
2. Jules Laforgue, Ezra Pound and Marianne Moore’s Logopoeia and Phantasmagoria (13:50~14:35)
Yoko Ueno (Kwassui Women’s University)
Chair: Yoshiko Kita (Chuo University)
After being involved in leading the movement of Imagism, Ezra Pound took notice of a French poet Jules Laforgue’s intellectual and ironical elements and called them “logopoeia.” Pound thought he could use “logopoeia” as a means to revolutionize the convention of then American poetry which tended to depend on lyricism and sentimentalism. While Pound aimed to make a clear break with aestheticism and decadence in the late nineteenth century, the fact was that Laforgue’s “logopoeia,” which Pound praised as a precedent for modernism, possessed the features of the decadent style.
Pound highly valued Laforgue’s prose “Salomé,” which has indications of decadence, and translated it in 1918. In particular, the descriptions of the Berlin Aquarium inserted in “Salomé” are characterized by aesthetic and decadent content and language. The descriptions consist of ornamental passages with dense patterns of language and sound, and present indulgence in sensuous beauty of the enclosed space of the aquarium. Pound omitted most of these descriptions of the aquarium from his translation. This omission suggests the descriptions contradict his definition of Laforgue as an intelligent poet of “logopoeia.” Although we can suppose Pound was attracted by the aesthetic beauty of Laforgue’s aquarium, he did not emphasize it.
In Pound’s own Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, the beauty Mauberley is indulged in is described with the image of the sea, which reminds us of Laforgue’s aquarium. The situation of Mauberley, who drifts away under anesthesia in the Pacific, is described as “phantasmagoria.” The poet Pound assumes a negative attitude toward Mauberley’s indulgence in beauty and suggests his break from it.
Marianne Moore also depicts scenes in the sea which are similar to Laforgue’s aquarium and uses the word “phantasmagoria” to describe an aquarium herself. “A Graveyard” can be interpretedas a poem in which the speaker is attracted by the beauty in the sea, but keeps a distance from it and looks at it only from outside. When Moore sent the poem to Pound, he wrote a long letter to her, giving her high praise and advice. Pound had a strong interest in “A Graveyard” in this way, probably because he perceived Moore’s ambivalent feelings toward aestheticism, which he could share. We could argue that “A Graveyard” is a symbolical venue in which the two poets’ attitude as modernists interlocks with their sympathy for aestheticism and decadence.
III. Work Shop (14:40~15:40)
The Characters of the Voices Which We Hear in “Canto XIX”
Toshiro (Shige) Inoue (Nihon Fukushi University)
MC: Junichi Koizumi (Nihon Fukushi University)
Pound regarded London as a corrupted city just like Inferno of Dante’s. This theme is not only closely connected with the founding of the U.S. and its corruption but is further developed in the following “Cantos.” We would like to show what place this canto takes in the grand design of TheCantos, how Pound tries to re-create foreign accents in his English text, and how we can translate them into Japanese.
Coffee Break (15:40~16:00) Room 602, 1-E Bldg. 6th Floor
IV. Guest Lecture (16:00~17:00)
Kenneth Rexroth Again
Tetsuya Taguchi (Doshisha University)
Chair: Koichiro Yamauchi (Shizuoka University)
V. Closing Address (17:00~17:05)
VI. General Meeting (Members Only) (17:05~17:35)
Chair: Yorio Hirano (Secretary of Ezra Pound Society of Japan)