The woke fail because they have nothing but abstractions. Ideology trumps everything, as intersectional Manichees. They hate the concrete. But life is made up of the concrete, the real. The map is not the nation, the model does not account for all variation, and your spouse is not virtual, nor a song, nor a poem.
The arts, done well, are very, very hard. Much of the arts in today’s world are of less quality than the work of a Victorian craftsman, who, though not original, lacked pretension.
Go in fear of abstractions. Don’t retell in mediocre verse what has already been done in good prose. Don’t think any intelligent person is going to be deceived when you try to shirk all the difficulties of the unspeakably difficult art of good prose by chopping your composition into line lengths.Ezra Pound.
What the expert is tired of today the public will be tired of tomorrow.
Don’t imagine that the art of poetry is any simpler than the art of music, or that you can please the expert before you have spent at least as much effort on the art of verse as the average piano teacher spends on the art of music.
Be influenced by as many great artists as you can, but have the decency either to acknowledge the debt outright, or to try to conceal it.
Pound’s best work is is Cantos. Unlikr Eliot, he did not give a crib. However, Pound is not that hard. You have to know your way around the Odyssey, beginning with Odysseus being enamoured by that semidivine witch, Circe. The ship was not without risk, and the gods needed to be appeased. You can hear the faded mythos of the ancients that the moderns were trying to rediscover.
Canto IEzra Pound.
And then went down to the ship,
Set keel to breakers, forth on the godly sea, and
We set up mast and sail on that swart ship,
Bore sheep aboard her, and our bodies also
Heavy with weeping, and winds from sternward
Bore us out onward with bellying canvas,
Circe’s this craft, the trim-coifed goddess.
Then sat we amidships, wind jamming the tiller,
Thus with stretched sail, we went over sea till day’s end.
Sun to his slumber, shadows o’er all the ocean,
Came we then to the bounds of deepest water,
To the Kimmerian lands, and peopled cities
Covered with close-webbed mist, unpierced ever
With glitter of sun-rays
Nor with stars stretched, nor looking back from heaven
Swartest night stretched over wretched men there.
The ocean flowing backward, came we then to the place
Aforesaid by Circe.
Here did they rites, Perimedes and Eurylochus,
And drawing sword from my hip
I dug the ell-square pitkin;
Poured we libations unto each the dead,
First mead and then sweet wine, water mixed with white flour.
Then prayed I many a prayer to the sickly death’s-heads;
As set in Ithaca, sterile bulls of the best
For sacrifice, heaping the pyre with goods,
A sheep to Tiresias only, black and a bell-sheep.
Dark blood flowed in the fosse,
Souls out of Erebus, cadaverous dead, of brides
Of youths and of the old who had borne much;
Souls stained with recent tears, girls tender,
Men many, mauled with bronze lance heads,
Battle spoil, bearing yet dreory arms,
These many crowded about me; with shouting,
Pallor upon me, cried to my men for more beasts;
Slaughtered the herds, sheep slain of bronze;
Poured ointment, cried to the gods,
To Pluto the strong, and praised Proserpine;
Unsheathed the narrow sword,
I sat to keep off the impetuous impotent dead,
Till I should hear Tiresias.
But first Elpenor came, our friend Elpenor,
Unburied, cast on the wide earth,
Limbs that we left in the house of Circe,
Unwept, unwrapped in sepulchre, since toils urged other.
Pitiful spirit. And I cried in hurried speech:
“Elpenor, how art thou come to this dark coast?
“Cam’st thou afoot, outstripping seamen?”
And he in heavy speech:
“Ill fate and abundant wine. I slept in Circe’s ingle.
“Going down the long ladder unguarded,
“I fell against the buttress,
“Shattered the nape-nerve, the soul sought Avernus.
“But thou, O King, I bid remember me, unwept, unburied,
“Heap up mine arms, be tomb by sea-bord, and inscribed:
“A man of no fortune, and with a name to come.
“And set my oar up, that I swung mid fellows.”
And Anticlea came, whom I beat off, and then Tiresias Theban,
Holding his golden wand, knew me, and spoke first:
“A second time? why? man of ill star,
“Facing the sunless dead and this joyless region?
“Stand from the fosse, leave me my bloody bever
And I stepped back,
And he strong with the blood, said then: “Odysseus
“Shalt return through spiteful Neptune, over dark seas,
“Lose all companions.” And then Anticlea came.
Lie quiet Divus. I mean, that is Andreas Divus,
In officina Wecheli, 1538, out of Homer.
And he sailed, by Sirens and thence outward and away
And unto Circe.
In the Cretan’s phrase, with the golden crown, Aphrodite,
Cypri munimenta sortita est, mirthful, orichalchi, with golden
Girdles and breast bands, thou with dark eyelids
Bearing the golden bough of Argicida. So that:
This is beyond the woke, for they hate history, myth, legend, culture, the supernatural, or any kind of beauty. Their poet is not Pound — he was, after all, aligned with the Fascists — but the Soviet realists. This is the genesis of the current academy, though they deny it.
To the readers of our New First Unexpected.David Burliuk, Alexander Kruchenykh, Vladmir Mayakovsky, Victor Khlebnikov 1917
We alone was the face of our Time. Through us the horn of time blows in the art of the world.
The past is too tight. The Academy and Pushkin are less intelligible than hieroglyphics.
Throw Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc., etc. overboard from the Ship of Modernity.
He who does not forget his first love will not recognize his last.
Who, trustingly, would turn his last love toward Balmont’s perfumed lechery? Is this the reflection of today’s virile soul?
Who, faint-heartedly, would fear tearing from warrior Bryusov’s black tuxedo the paper armor-plate? Or does the dawn of unknown beauties shine from it?
Wash your hands which have touched the filthy slime of the books written by the countless Leonid Andreyevs.
All those Maxim Gorkys, Krupins, Bloks, Sologubs, Remizovs, Averchenkos, Chornys, Kuzmins, Bunins, etc. need only a dacha on the river. Such is the reward fate gives tailors.
From the heights of skyscrapers we gaze at their insignificance!…
We order that the poets’ rights be revered:
To enlarge the scope of the poet’s vocabulary with arbitrary and derivative words (Word-novelty).
To feel an insurmountable hatred for the language existing before their time.
To push with horror off their proud brow the Wreath of cheap fame that You have made from bathhouse switches.
To stand on the rock of the word “we” amidst the sea of boos and outrage.
And if for the time being the filthy stigmas of your “common sense” and “good taste” are still present in our lines, these same lines for the first time already glimmer with the Summer Lightning of the New Coming Beauty of the Self-sufficient (self-centered) Word.
Note that these two poets were writing at the same time. One led to despair, the other (though called mad) lived to an old age in his beloved Italian hills. The current academic model is the one who despaired — or chose to die before he was unpersoned. The Bolsheviks, like the Jacobins and the current woke, eat their own.
Better to instead know the past, and fight for it. Even if in your life you lose. Do not sacrifice a pinch of incense to this current elite, for they will then say you are like them.