“Ezra Poundings”

This entry is part 13 of 49 in the series Blogging Pound's The Cantos

Someone quipped on Facebook about the term I used for my Ezra Pound study group of many years past: “Ezra Poundings” was what I described our work as. Reading EP some sometimes feel like pounding on a wall, so it made sense. But in the intervening years, the culture has moved on, and somehow now it sounds like a porn movie title (or a pornstar name)… or maybe it always did, and I just didn’t hear it back then.

The idea of a pornographic or erotic film about some of the giants of modernist poetry amuses me, and it’s not as if the constant erotic-occultism — or Pound’s numerous extramarital affairs — couldn’t be adapted to an pornographic incarnation.

There’s Pound’s early love affair with Hilda Doolittle (the poet HD) in America; there is is courtship with Dorothy Shakespear (and outings with her and her mother, as twisted as that may sound); his affairs with Yseult Gonne and Olga Rudge (and others, presumably). But there is also TS Eliot and his mad wife, as well as his fantasies — hinted at in sections of Four Quartets — regarding the woman he turned down to marry his wife; there is the young secretary, decades his junior, whom he married in old age; HD’s lesbian romance after Pound, and her marriage to Richard Aldington — and Pound’s famous visit to see her in the hospital when she was pregnant, and he told his his only objection was that the child was not his.

Then there’s all the occult eroticism in The Cantos and other of Pound’s poetry, as well —  the fixation on the theme of the hieros gamos — the sacred marriage — in the Eleusinian Mysteries, the obsession with paligenetic moments (transformative rebirths) in Ovid: both of those themes are highly conducive to pornification as well.

The primary limitation is audience, however: who would watch the thing?

A secondary limitation would be finding actors capable of actually playing the characters creditably. And if they could find actors, I suspect very few would be interested in seeing an elderly, crackling-voiced Pound getting nasty an aging Olga Rudge or young Maercella Spann, the secretary 40 years his junior who followed him to Venice when he was released from St. Elizabeth’s, and whom Rudge and Shakespear forced out of the picture.

There is also, of course, the question of respect for these people, who were after all real human beings.

Series Navigation<< Blogging Pound’s The Cantos: Cantos XII-XIII (Baldy Bacon and Kung)Pound and the Occult: Leon Surette’s <em>The Birth of Modernism: Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, and the Occult</em> >>

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