Sun, 10 Oct 1999 08:18:29 -0400 (EDT) From: email@example.com (Al Filreis) Subject: Re: The encounter BELOW, IN RESPONSE TO A.C.'S QUESTION I INTERPRET "THE ENCOUNTER" STORY SOME MORE AND IN DOING SO TALK ABOUT THE DANGERS OF OBJECTIFICATION IN EARLY MODERNIST WRITING ------------------ Al had written (on Ezra Pound's "The Encounter"): ------------ But they don't end up *doing* it. The speakers ends up talking about doing it--via his imagist likening. He ends by saying she is *like* something. But no likening is needed. She makes it clear that he can have her, but his performance of modernism seems more urgent. She is a word, or a word-about-a-thing, not a being in herself. A.C. then wrote to ask: ----------- you think that this is a "failure of Imagism" in that Pound has lost sight of life in his desire to write about it? or do you mean that Pound is expressing (metaphorically) the limits of poetry to stand in for life? Now Al tries to clarify: ----------- I mean it is a limitation or problem of imagism--a wall imagism hits as it tries to be a poetic strategy for a "revolution of the word" (a "new" kind of poetry for the modern age). What it shows here is what bullshit Pound's "action words" can be when you stop to consider what they mean, what they refer to, in this supposed social scene. Cool modern people gather, including the poet; they all talk about the cool new modes and how cool they are (how free sexually and artistically); but the poet and a young free woman eye each other as if to say to each other, "What bullshit they are, *talking* the new morality as if they really mean it. So much talk!" At that point it's clear that the poet fantasizes that what can come out of that recognition is some engagement between the two. But what he does next he sort of can't help; I mean, after all, he's a revolution-of-the-word poet! He's new. Make it new! Words, words. Imagism instant-in-time stuff. So he compares her fingers to an orientalized, aestheticized, fragile, catch-it-while-you-can-before-it-crumbles thing. Even within the social scene he has set up, it's a confession, at least a slight moment self-awareness, that he'd rather use words than do. The former lasts longer because they reify ("REE-iff-fie" - meaning to make concrete or to make objective) the experience in ways that the human interaction cannot.