In this lecture, Michael Kindellan (Sheffield) will discuss the modernist American poet, translator and provocateur Ezra Pound (1885-1972), with special attention to Pound’s radical and often contentious translations of Chinese.
In this lecture, I propose to give a critical account of Ezra Pound’s long, influential and often highly contested engagement with Chinese thought and writing. I’ll attend in particular to Pound’s appropriation and deployment of Chinese as it pertains to his related, controversial forays into philological and translational practice, reading both as essential aspects of his revolutionary poetics. Throughout, I’ll reflect on questions of competence, expertise, lyricism, difficulty, appropriation, licence and style. I’ll ground these more general reflections in a discussion of Pound’s “late” poetic practices in the 1950s, with specific reference to some of his last cantos and to his preparation of a completed but ultimately never published “scholarly” edition of The Classic Anthology Defined by Confucius.
Michael Kindellan is a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow in the School of English at the University of Sheffield, UK. He is the author of The Late Cantos of Ezra Pound: Composition, Revision, Publication (Bloomsbury 2017) and, with Joshua Kotin (Princeton), “The Cantos and Pedagogy” (Modernist Cultures 2017).