Book 128 of 200 – Thrones de los Cantares by Ezra Pound

If Rock-Drill was the final section of ‘paradiso’ in this fractured post-modern opus, then Thrones is kind of an appendix, a supplement to the entire work.  Or merely (or also?) a continuation of the journey that only ends with the poet’s death.

Since it was published, I read this section, as well as the fragments that follow, but I didn’t find anything there worth commenting on.


In Canto CIII he praises Brooks attack on Sumner:

1850: gt objection to any honesty in the White House
’56 an M.C. from California
killed one of the waiters at the Willard
22nd.  Brooks thrased Sumner in Camera Senatus
“respectful of our own rights and of others”
for which decent view he was ousted
Homestead versus kolschoz
Rome            versus Babylon
no sense of quiddity in the sovreignty
i.e. the power to issue
The slaves were red herring,
land not secure against issuers

Pretty clearly he’s on the far-right wing fringe; while his two Italian Cantos are called the ‘moral nadir’ of the poem, he spent a couple of decades after the World War as the darling of white supremacists like Eustace Mullins, and it is hard to separate that aspect from any interpretation of his poetry from that period.  He has a point (and incidentally agrees with Marx on the subject) that the moral objection to slavery was not weighty enough to see it abolished in the period leading up to the Civil War, but it requires a lot of mental gymnastics to defend the prerogatives of slaveholders on the basis of liberty (indeed, that’s been a major part of the intellectual project of the right since the 1870s.)

It’s worth noting that the last line of this section of the Cantos maintains the nautical theme:

“you in the dingy (piccioletta) astern there!” (CIX)

I understand his creative impetus to continue the poem he’d been working on for 20 years, but I’m on record that Rock-Drill should have been the ending.

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