Poundmania: On Process and Plans

This entry is part 19 of 42 in the series Blogging Pound's The Cantos

So, I calculated the other day that if I spent about 25 days in July and August on The Cantos, I could finish reading the whole thing before Miss Jiwaku go on our summer holidays. Of course, that’s crazy, but it’s not beyond me. If I were to do it, I would in theory be doing a study-session and post every second day, though in reality, my Pound posts so far have been the product of a couple of days’ work (well, a few hours each day for a few days);

Now, those of you with more math skillz than your average Pound fan will probably notice that 25 days only would yield 50 Cantos, whereas currently (having written most of next week’s post already) I have about 85 Cantos remaining, plus a few bits and pieces. There are two assumptions:

  1. The Chinese and Adams Cantos are, from what I’ve read, much less poetical, and much more, well… versified excerpts of somewhat arbitrary selections from a single book on Chinese history, and a single multivolume book on John Adams. What I’ve read suggests that while they are a hard slog, I may not find so much of use to me. Therefore, those 20-odd Cantos would get dealt with in a mere four or five posts.
  2. I would, at least for the summer, increase my pace to three Cantos a posting, except when really inappropriate. (For example, when finishing a section, I would not add a canto from a new section just to get three; or when dealing with a particularly significant or difficult Canto, I might spend a single post on one Canto.

If I followed this regime I would be through the book by sometime in September. However, I’m not completely sure this is the best way to do it. I’ve been lucky, I suppose, in serendipitously running across the very texts that helped me understand important chunks of what I was reading, at exactly the time when they could help me most. I would hate to hurry through, only to discover, later on when I was working through secondary sources, that the key to some enigmatic puzzle was right there on my desk, being ignored because I was going to make my fourth posting of the week, and cover my twelfth canto of the week, or bust.

In fact, what I’ll probably do is work on two to three posts per week; this will give me some breathing room in the summer, but also some breathing room for Tuesdays through the fall semester. I won’t be posting everything as I write it: rather, I’ll reserve posts for each Tuesday, which means the series should be finishing up sometime in January or February 2013.

That will let me get some writing done, and some proper exercise, as well as allow me to brew up the Saisons I want to brew, sort through and junk some of my crap, while also making things easier for me in the fall, when my class schedule should be less hectic, but when I hope to be working on a major writing project. (Either the one I begin this summer, or a new one.)

But I tell you: this studying Ezra Pound thing, it can really take over if you let it. It just creeps in and bugs you, like, “Right, so what is that passage about?” drifts into your mind when you’re supposed to be doing other things.

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