Thursday, October 26, 2006

Of Another Tostian Item

The way these faces look in the crowd:
Leaves on a wet, black branch.

"Of another Tostian item" is an anagram of "in a station of the metro". Riding the Copenhagen Metro today I found the faces as striking as I imagine Pound did in 1913 in Paris. I found his little poem very useful too. I spent a long time thinking about whether there really is a missing "like" between the first and second line, or whether there needs to be. I.e., whether or not it is an implicit simile. I found it most useful simply to imagine the experience of the faces followed by the experience with the petals.

To hold the bough up to those faces, as it were.

The apparition of those faces is not just a thing of beauty (though it is that too). There is something disturbing about it. And Pound's poem helps us to deal with it. So do the poems in books like Invisible Bride, The Lichtenberg Figures, The Hounds of No, and Petroleum Hat.

These are (often little) poems that help us to manage what Tony once called "pivots", a Poundian notion in its own right. Pound puts it this way: "I dare say it is meaningless unless one has drifted into a certain vein of thought. In a poem of this sort one is trying to record the precise instant when a thing outward and objective transforms itself, or darts into a thing inward and subjective."

Tony puts it this way: "I find myself wanting to recreate or find pivot-points in my own poems: a pivot from image to aphorism, from emotion to trivia."

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