This issue of Make It New is the first one to focus on a period of Pound’s oeuvre and it is fitting that it should concentrate on an early one: imagism, Japan, and the troubadours occupy center stage in this MIN issue. David Ewick’s detailed and entertaining article on the collection Imagism: Essays on its Initiation, Impact and Influence (2013) is everything the present editor might wish from the ideal review. It is all the more valuable for us as it does not only comment on the collection itself, but contextualizes it within the history of scholarship on Imagism. In this sense, Ewick’s review essay should be the starting point for any research done on the subject; and since it addresses points of controversy, particularly concerning the place and role of Chinese and Japanese poetic forms within Imagism, it should be a point of departure for any preparation for the classroom as well.
MIN also owes David Ewick a debt of gratitude for the first bibliography of secondary sources on Ezra Pound published in Japan. It contains books, articles, and reviews of the past five years with the titles translated into English. It was read by our colleagues from the Ezra Pound Society of Japan and it is updated with the articles in the latest issue of their journal, the Ezra Pound Review. I owe here special thanks to Prof. Shigeyoshi Hara, president of the society, for the professional assistance he gave both David and me with a view to making the bibliography as correct and complete as possible.
Indeed, Japan is very much in our thoughts as we introduce the winner of the article award for 2014. Andrew Houwen’s work gives us much needed detail on the role of the Noh play Takasago in Pound’s early Cantos. We all remember the special role that Takasago had as a key symbol for The Cantos as a whole. For a long time it was believed that Pound had not even translated the play. Yet, ever since Ira Nadel’s inclusion of the text in Pound’s correspondence with Alice Corbin Henderson, we know he did: Houwen’s article directly addresses the role of the symbol in Pound’s poem.
MIN is honoured to publish poems out of Harry Gilonis’s new collection, North Hills, radicalized translations of ancient Chinese poems that Pound also translated. For the readers not familiar with Gilonis’ work, Richard Parker’s collection News From Afar contains further instances of this translation practice, which builds on Pound’s principles and develops them towards greater literality and authenticity.
The present issue of MIN celebrates Robert Hughes and Margaret Fisher, the winners of our book award, in a much needed review of their careers as scholars, editors, and performers of Pound’s music, which they almost single-handedly brought from the stage of uncoordinated manuscript drafts to scholarly editions, live performances and studio recordings. Fisher’s interview of Murray Schafer is of particular interest, since it illuminates a musician’s point of view in his professional interaction with Pound’s music and poetry, helping us on the way towards a truly interdisciplinary study.
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the work done by Eloisa Bressan and Claudio Sansone on the re-evaluation of Pound’s interaction with the troubadours at the time of the Imagist revolution. Bressan’s itinerary of Pound’s trip to Provence in the summer of 1912 is a radical improvement on existing print sources. Her interactive map develops a new foundation for an enriched understanding of Pound’s interest in the troubadours: not mere intellectual curiosity, but imaginative, emotional, I would go so far as to say visceral re-enactment. A walk in Provence: but what a walk!