PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
Digital Access to PN Review
Access the latest issues, plus back issues of PN Review with Exact Editions For PN Review subscribers: to access the PN Review digital archive via the Exact Editions app Exactly or the Exact Editions website, you will first need to know your PN Review ID number. read more
PN Review Prize winners announced
Carcanet Press and PN Review are delighted to announce the winners of the first ever PN Review Prize. read more
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott

(PN Review 235)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue Peter Scupham at 85: a celebration Contributions by Anne Stevenson, Robert Wells, Peter Davidson, Lawrence Sail

This review is taken from PN Review 46, Volume 12 Number 2, November - December 1985.


It is my impression that those who write about Pound today are very different from the Poundians of yesterday or yesteryear, of whom the pre-eminent and representative figure is surely Hugh Kenner. I want to test that impression by looking at some recent writings about Pound.

There is for instance an essay in Paideuma 13.3 (Winter 1984). It is by Angela Elliott, who exclaims admiringly at one point (p. 336): 'a subtle and lovely syncretism'. One is grateful for such explicitness: Ms Elliott is one of many enthusiastic readers of The Cantos nowadays for whom the main thrust of that poem, or perhaps among its several thrusts the one that they are happiest with, is syncretic. That there is such a thrust in The Cantos cannot be denied; the crucial collocation that Ms Elliott cites in her title - 'Pound's "Isis Kuanon"' - undoubtedly signals a syncretic intention on the poet's part, and invites the sort of interpretation that she duly or dutifully proceeds to, by which the vast circumstantial differences betwen ancient Egypt ('Isis') and ancient China ('Kuanon') are painstakingly ironed out so as to persuade us that they can be ignored.

The really ambitious syncretist is not content to reconcile only two systems of thought and belief; he is happiest when he has four or five balls in the air. And in fact what elicits Angela Elliott's admiring exclamation is a snatch of lines which, though they occur in a context impregnated with ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image