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Ezra Pound's ekphrastic principle of stillness.

It has been more than forty years since Murray Krieger submitted his most influential essay, "Ekphrasis and the Still Movement of Poetry; or, Laokoon Revisited," to the first conference of the Iowa Center for Modern Letters in October, 1965 (263-88). (1) Hitherto, "still movement" is taken as a new ekphrastic principle to measure the interrelationship between "word" and "image" in the verbal representation of visual art in poetry. It marks a revolutionary substitute for Lessing's spatial-temporal reduction principle in relation to painting and poetry. This theory has been greatly developed by other critics and Krieger himself, including remarkable principles of "entering and envoicing" and "a marriage of the visual and verbal emblems". James A. W. Heffernan contends that "[e]ntering and envoicing the mute still object, language abandons its narrative impulse and gives itself up to graphic stasis"(308). Heffernan's principle of "envoicing" is virtually complementary to Krieger's "still movement," emphasizing that the work of visual art in a poem is able to "cross the line between graphic and verbal representation, between the fixed, silent beauty of graphic stillness and the audible movement of speech"(308). Put it simply, an object d'art has the potential to speak out rather than passively presents a mere description of its beauty or value in an ekphrastic poem. Krieger's newly-developed theory of ekphrasis regards "word" and "image" as two emblems: the verbal and the visual. The verbal emblem consists of arbitrary signs or man-made signs, whereas the visual emblem is made up of natural signs. Krieger argues that "the shift from natural-sign picture as picture-as-code" makes words "turn themselves into a form," "in effect a verbal emblem;" thus, these two emblems are "complementary languages for seeking the representation for the unrepresentables"(22). In this sense, Krieger defines the term of "ekphrasis" as "the poet's marriage of the two within the verbal art"(22). Following Krieger's trajectory of establishing the ekphrastic principle of "still movement," readers may produce an echo with Heffernan's criticism due to Krieger's shift of emphasis from "movement" to "stillness," in which Krieger articulates that his purpose is "to use a plastic object as a symbol of the frozen, stilled world of plastic relationship which must be superimposed upon literature's turning world to 'still' it"(265-66). Krieger takes T. S. Eliot's lines from "Burnt Norton" as his manifesto of "the still movement of poetry" and centers on the discussion of the archetypal motif of "jar-urn" ranging from "a Chinese jar" through "a Grecian urn" to "a Tennessee jar" represented respectively in the works of Alexander Pope, John Keats and Wallace Stevens. This article will mainly use Ezra Pound's representation of "a Chinese landscape painting" in his "Canto XLIX," together with his ideograms and hieroglyphs as visual images, to reexamine the ekphrastic principle of "stillness," which can be considered as an extension of Krieger's notion of "still movement."

Pound's "Canto XLIX" is an important ekphrastic poem in modern American painter poetry, yet largely neglected by critics. It might be caused by a vague source in the opening narrative, "for the seven lakes, and by no man these verses," which seduces both readers and critics to associate this canto with the poet's imitation of a certain place called "the seven lakes." Only those who are quite familiar with Chinese southern culture and Chinese landscape painting in the Song Dynasty (960-1270) may determine Pound's "Canto XLIX" is dependent upon a landscape handscroll entitled Eight Views of Xiao Xiang. The scenic description in the poem is allusive to the eight picture titles recorded in Mengxi bitan (Brush Talks from Dream Brook) written by the Song scholar Shen Kua (1031-95), who accredited the scroll to the Song painter Song Di (c. 1015-80). The original scroll had already been lost when Shen Kua copied down the eight picture titles in his narration. Each picture title consists of four Chinese characters and presents a nature image or a topographic scene along the Xiao and Xiang Rivers within modern Hunan province, the central south of China. In ancient times, this place is well-known for its watery land and misty hills with humid, cloudy weather and peaceful life, a southern valley rich in fish and grain and a place of seclusion as well for the exiled elites and statesmen banished by the Royal Court. These eight pictures include as follows: (2)
   Geese Descending to Level Sand [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
   Sail Returning from Distant Shore [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
   Mountains Market, Clearing Mist [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
   River and Sky, Evening Snow XW [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
   Autumn Moon over Dongting MMXH [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
   Night Rain on Xiaoxiang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
   Evening Bell from Mist-Shrouded Temple [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN
   Fishing Village in Evening Glow [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]

As Alfreda Murck has observed, "word choice emphasizes darkness and endings--descending, returning, snowing evening, autumn night, rainy night, obscuring mist, setting sun" (71). This is because the list is not only an authentic picture of the beautiful scenery within the Xiao Xiang region, but also a reflection of the elites' political failure and artistic taste. The evocative emotion is the result of their exile life from the northern capital to the southern waterland. Since the Song Dynasty, many painters would group their landscape paintings with such titles, which resulted in more than one hundred scrolls currently preserved in Japan, America, Taiwan and Mainland China. It may not be surprised that the modern American poet Wallace Stevens could not help proclaiming eight picture titles as "a list upon his soul" (3) after his visiting an exhibition in New York in 1909 (137-38). Pound never mentioned Eight Views of Xiao Xiang in his letters and essays. However, this does not mean that "Canto XLIX" is not a creative imitation dependent upon Eight Views. Interesting enough, Pound's canto also consists of two main parts with eight stanzas. The first four stanzas represent and present eight scenes of the Xiao Xiang region with descriptive lines of eight picture titles as indicator. The last two lines of the fourth stanza, "in seventeen hundred came Tsing to these hill lakes./A light moves on the south sky line, " function as a transition from the poetic description of Eight Views in the first part to the poet's imagination beyond the visual art through his unique ideogrammic method, juxtaposing myths, history and folk songs into oneness in the second part. Thus, the last couplet is a summation of the poet's ekphrastic principle of "stillness," the fourth dimension, whose "power over wild beasts" (Pound, "Canto XLIX" 255).

As is known, in the physical world, one point is seen as one dimension, one line in the same phase refers to two dimensions, and length, width and height constitute three dimensions with the movements of up and down, back and forth, left and right. When time as the fourth dimension is added to the three dimensional world, an object appears to move more complicated in all directions within the spatial-temporal world. As the contemporary ecopoet Gary Snyder says in his poem "Riprap," "The worlds like an endless/four-dimensional/Game of Go"(32). Time is a linear world travelling from past, present to future. The endless moving of time makes the present moment become the past and soon merges into the future. When a static object is placed within the temporal world, only words or metaphors can keep its spatial shape still moving in the world of stillness. T. S. Eliot uses the image of "a Chinese jar" to denote the relationship between "words" and "the still point of the turning world":
   Words move, music moves
   Only in time; but that which is only living
   Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
   Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,
   Can words or music reach
   The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
   Moves perpetually in its stillness. (Eliot, "Burnt Norton" 193;
      Krieger 264)

Krieger takes this poem as his "model statement" to illustrate the ekphrstic principle of "still movement" in relation to "word" and "image." The process of his poetic "still movement" implies three levels when time is seen as the fourth dimension. First, time runs endlessly forward and never stops at a given place; thus, according to the theory of relativity, words can move in the temporal world. Second, words are "dead" in the spatial world at the very moment when they are spoken out and become frozen symbols or images in the literary world. Third, words have meanings and can be seen as living things. When they die within a form or a pattern, their status of stillness still conveys a meaningful idea to the outside world within that special pattern. At this time, "words" as images can "still move perpetually" in the world of stillness. Pound's ekphrastic principle of "stillness" also takes time as the fourth dimension, but "time" is metaphorically upgraded to "the fourth dimension of stillness." Pound's "stillness" can be seen as the result of stilling words concerning history, myths and songs in his poetic space. On the other hand, the poet as critic-viewer amazingly finds that the scroll accommodates eight views of the Xiao Xiang region through the painter's brushstrokes and condenses them into "still points" within a spatial-temporal structure of the Chinese landscape handscroll. The power of stillness, thus, like an eternal energy, can control "over wild beasts." Here, "wild beasts" may symbolize the chaotic, uncivilized world, whereas visual arts such as painting, sculpture and porcelain should be considered as products of civilization. Pound's notion of "stillness" appears to emphasize more its stilling power than its static status if compared with Eliot's concept of "the still point." In this respect, Krieger's ekphrastic principle of "still movement" lacks of one crucial component--"the power of stillness." Hence, for Pound, the ekphrastic process of the "still movement" should be made up of four main steps based on the word of "still." First, "still" is used as a verb, referring to a power of stilling "words" and "images" into two emblems: the visual and the verbal. Second, "still" is used as an adjective, indicating "the still point" after stilling "images." Third, the result of stilling "images" turns out to a static status, namely, "stillness," which is used as a noun. Fourth, a kind of power is embodied in the world of stillness through "words" and can keep "images" "still" moving in the world of "words," in which "still" is used as an adverb.

In the first part of "Canto XLIX," the poet revives the stilled Eight Views through his verbal representation, because "words move" "only in time" as Eliot articulates. Consequently, pictures and historical events are dynamically presented as "things in motion, and motion in things" (Fenollosa 10). The poet adeptly frees eight views from the frozen painting so that readers can hardly recognize their sources unless he/she is a master of Chinese arts and culture. For example, the first stanza is a vivid description of the painting entitled Night Rain on Xian Xiang based on some indicators such as "heavy rain in the twilight," "one lantern," "heavy, bent reeds" and "the bamboo speak as if weeping" (Pound 255). There is a special kind of bamboo with spots on its skin growing in this region, which is legendarily said to be tears of Goddesses Xiang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] two concubines of Emperor Shun in the prehistoric times (1.7 millions years--21st century BC). Mount Ju [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is a small island over Dongting Lake [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] covered with such spotted bamboos and reeds, where villagers live on fishing from antiquity. This is the place of exile and seclusion in the Song Dynasty. Many poets, statesmen, painters and calligraphers left their outstanding works there when they climbed Yueyang Pavilion [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], opposite to Mount Ju, facing the vastness of the lake. Leaning the rails, their threads of thoughts got them into a dreamy journey over that mythical, misty and tranquil waterland. If readers have the potential to recognize this typical cultural characteristic, then they will feel it easy to imagine the verbal representation of three paintings in the second stanza. The lines, "Autumn moon; hills rise about lakes/against sunset," are indicative of Autumn Moon over Dongting Lake; The lines, "Behind hill the monk's bell/borne on the wind," are related to Evening Bell from Mist-Shrouded Temple; and the lines, "Sail passed there in April; may return in October/Boat fades in silver; slowly," are descriptive of the painting titled Sail Returning from Distant Shore. On the same token, the third stanza narrates two paintings. One is Mountains Market, Clearing Mist with a visible cultural symbol of "wine flag" in the line, "Where wine flag catches the sunset." The other is about River and Sky, Evening Snow with a clue implied in the lines, "Comes then snow scur on the river/And a world is covered with jade/[...]/The flowing water clots as with cold." The opening line of the fourth stanza, "Wild geese swoop to the sand-bar," reminds readers of the painting titled Geese Descending to Level Sand. The last painting described in the poem is Fishing Village in Evening Glow: "Rooks clatter over the fishermen's lanthoms, /A light moves on the north sky line;/where the young boys prod stones for shrimp." The images of "rooks," "fishermen," "lanthoms" and "shrimp" constitute a pleasant picture of the returning of fishing boats in a village welcomed by a group of "young boys," the fishermen's children.

According to the ekphrastic principle of "still movement," the poet as critic-viewer first enters the scroll to narrate the eight still points, namely, eight views, stilled by the painter's brushstrokes. This process can be seen as the poet's freeing spatial art within the temporal art. When the poet finishes his narration, his moving words soon turn out to become another still point "after speech," and "reach into silence." How to let "words" as the verbal emblem and "images" of Eight Views as the visual emblem continue to envoice and still move perpetually in the world of stillness? Pound's solution is to seek a kind of extant 'power' within and beyond "words" and "images," which is mainly embodied in the second part of "Canto XLIX." The two lines opening with "A light moves ..." in the fourth stanza play a crucial part in creating such a "power," a kind of an eternal energy because of its opposite, yet circular direction moving from "the north sky line" to "the south sky line," and vice versa. After the verbal representation of two paintings entitled Geese Descending to Level Sand and Fishing Village in Evening Glow discussed above, the poet first uses the line, "A light moves on the north sky line," plus the semi-colon (;) to make a visible watershed so that readers as viewers understand the implicit meaning of this line. Here, "a light" refers to "the fishermen's lanthorns" or "moonlight," which "moves" throughout this northern village within the Xiao Xiang region. Thus, "the north sky line" is a topographical line, since the Xiao Xiang Rivers run into the north, where Dongting Lake is situated. This "light" reactivates the eight still points (eight views) of the handscroll, because the last painting of Fishing Village in Evening Glow is the verbal representation of a real fishing village situated in the north of the Xiao Xiang. With the pattern of "A light moves on the north sky line," the poet enters the scroll, moving freely from one view to another and envoices Eight Views in an impersonal tone with the absence of the persona "I" in his verbal representation. This technique also reflects the poet's mastery of Chinese poetic aesthetics, that is, the poetic space is achieved through the juxtaposition of small images without the appearance of "I" in a poem.

When the fourth stanza ends with the line, "A light moves on the south sky line," the poet starts his new journey beyond the scroll. Here, "the south sky line" refers to both topographical and historical lines by adding time as the fourth dimension. Accordingly, another power, "imperial power" that the poet shows his doubts and admiration, is created spontaneously accompanied by his narration of ancient Chinese history in a flashback from the last Qing/Tsing Dynasty (1644-1911) to the prehistoric times. The poet narrates, "In seventeen hundred came Tsing to these hill lakes," which refers to Emperor Kangxi's four visits to the southern Yangtze region during his reign (r. 1661-1772). Therefore, the second "light" can be understood as "glory" or "imperial power" of the Qing/Tsing, when the Qing/Tsing army invaded from the northern border down toward the central and southern regions, which led to the collapse of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the replacement of a new empire. The poet uses the image of "the canal" to specify his spatial-temporal structure, a creative imitation of the Chinese handscroll, because the canal is running forever from the north to the south, which was built in the Sui Dynasty (581-618) and greatly expanded in the Qing Dynasty. As the poem says, "This canal goes still to TenShi/ though the old king built for pleasure." Once again, the poet captures the adverb "still" to emphasize the spatial-temporal meaning of "movement." The canal goes to the northern end in TenShi, the modern Tong County near Beijing and flows to the southern part "at San Yin," a place of the southeastern Yangtze region, in which the poet describes in the third stanza, "they are a people of leisure." The metonymical canal indicates that "imperial power" not only brings convenience and happiness to people, but also gets the rich country into debt. The poet compares such "imperial power" to "Geryon," the Greek formidable demon with three bodies; the emphasis is thus upon destruction which the poet regards as "infamy." To highlight the other side of "imperial power," the poet archeologically explores the original meaning of "imperial power" during the prehistoric times, when Emperors Yao, Shun and Yu presided and carried out "the abdication system" by choosing a virtuous, capable man as the tribal head rather than giving the throne to his son. In this respect, "imperial power" in the prehistoric times means a practice of egalitarianism among all members characterised by peace, equality and the common ownership of wealth. The poet quotes two songs to eulogise this good "imperial power." One is "Ode to Clouds" and the other is a folk song of peasants, both of which celebrate peaceful, collective work in daily life during the legendary times of Yao, Shun and Yu. Interesting enough, the poet uses Japanese version of "Ode to Clouds" with each letter capitalized, which comes from Fenollosa's manuscript. His purpose is for exoticism, which, in turn, serves the visual emblem by stilling these words in his verbal representation. Although non-Japanese readers cannot recognize these big letters, "KEI MEN RAN KEI/KIU MAN MAN KEI/JITSU GETSU KO KWA/TAN FUKU TAN KAI" (4) (Legge 14), at least they can sense the visual effect created by such images. This is also called "imperial power," under which people enjoy life through labour work, as the song sings, "Sun up, work/ Sundown; to rest/dig well and drink of the water/dig field; eat of the grain." When the poet asks rhetorically, "Imperial power is? And to us what is it?" he seems to seek the modern meaning of "imperial power" within the verbal art. The poet strongly feels such power existing in both the visual and verbal art, therefore, he gives a firm reply, "The fourth; the dimension of stillness./And the power over wild beasts." Although the triple-bodied giant Geryon is so fearsome, the poet can use the artistic power of stillness to still it into a still point. Similarly, the beautiful scenes of Eight Views have already been stilled within the frame of a handscroll by the painter, but the poet can still use his poetic power to free these views from the stilled spatial form and once again still them into silence within the temporal verbal pattern. This power of stillness has, no doubt, the potential to keep the work of visual art "still moving perpetually in its stillness" within the verbal art.

Pound's ekphrastic principle of "stillness" appears to be more scientific when he takes time as the fourth dimension of stillness. This is in accordance with his contention that "[t]he arts, literature, poesy, are a science as chemistry is a science"(Pound, "The Serious Artist" 42). However, Pound further explained that this "precision" as "the touchstone of an art" "is of various and complicated sorts and only the specialist can determine whether certain works of art possess certain sorts of precision" (Pound, "The Serious Artist" 48). Based on Pound's notion of "stillness," readers may understand why "various and complicated sorts" of precision are widely practised in his Cantos. For example, in "Canto LXXX," Pound points out "trees" "under Abelard's bridges" are "Elysium," but this precision aims at speaking "for serenity." In Greek mythology, "Elysium" refers to heaven, a blissful place after death. Hence, "trees" used as a metonymical device represent a visible tranquil place on earth, which forms a sharp contrast to the flowing water "under Abelard's bridges" in Paris. In his lines, two Greek words, "[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]" literally "all things flow"(Edwards and Vasse 267) function as a visual emblem, indicating an authentic picture with "things in motion, motion in things." To illustrate the ekphrastic principle of "still movement," the poem continues its description in detail:
   as he had walked under the rain altars
   or under the trees of their grove
   or would it be better under their parapets
   in his moving was stillness. (Pound, "Canto LXXX" 547)

Hugh Kenner explains that this precision virtually creates "a rhyme of a stillness felt with a setting remembered; and the trees, like the Arles graves, are called Elysian"(Kenner, The Pound Era 479). Pound's unique use of Chinese ideograms and Egyptian hieroglyphs as stilled visual images in Cantos can be seen as his great contribution to the practice of the dimension of stillness. This is related to Fenollosa's amazing discovery of Chinese ideograms as natural metaphors, a useful medium for English poetry. After receiving Fenollosa's manuscript from his widow, Pound articulates that "Fenollosa has left a most enlightening essay on the written character (a whole basis of aesthetic, in reality)" (5)(Paige 106). In his letter to Iris Barry dated "June, 1916," Pound suggested,

you should have a chance to see Fenollosa's big essay on verbs, mostly on verbs.[...] He inveighs against "IS," wants transitive verbs. "Become" is as weak as "is." Let the grime do something to the leaves. "All nouns come from verbs." To primitive man, a thing is what it does. That is Fenollosa, but I think the theory is a very good one for poets to get by. (Paige 131-32)

What Pound was fascinated is that Chinese ideograms look like natural pictures, although he acknowledged that "all the ideograms are not as musing"(Paige, 106). The more he explored the functions of Chinese ideograms, the more Pound practised consciously in his Cantos. In his letter to Katue Kitasono dated "15 November, 1940," Pound declares that "[i]deogram is essential to the exposition of certain kinds of thought''(Paige 447). This idea is sparked earlier in his letter to George Santayana dated "16 January, 1940." Pound explains,

Chinese saying "a man's character apparent in every one of his brush strokes." Early characters were pictures, squared for aesthetic reasons.


One ideogramic current is from picture often of preprocess, then it is tied to, associated with one of a dozen meanings by convention. (Paige 430)

From Pound's letters, we may safely infer that his placement of Chinese ideograms as visual emblems in his Cantos expresses his deep thoughts traveling through time and space, which he takes as the basis of poetic aesthetics. As Laszlo Gefin has noticed, "in a Chinese ideogram the pictures are set side by side, from which the mind can grasp invisible 'things'--ideas, concepts, universals" (11). Pound takes "image" as dynamic "vortex," "not an idea," but "a radiant node, or cluster," "from which, and through which, and into which, ideas are constantly rushing"(Pound, Gaudier-Brezeska 92). Kenner explains this phenomenon by using a knot as a comparison.

Pull, and whatever your effort each lobe of the knot makes it impossible that the other shall disappear. It is a self-interfering pattern.[...] The knot is neither hemp nor cotton nor nylon: is not the rope. The knot is a patterned integrity. The rope renders it visible. (Kenner, The Pound Era 145)

Therefore, Kenner concludes, "For the vortex is not the water but a patterned energy made visible by the water"(Kenner, The Pound Era 146). In this sense, we can understand when Pound says, "poetry is the more highly energized;" "the thing that matters in art is a sort of energy, something more or less like electricity or radioactivity, a force transfusing, welding, and unifying"(Pound, "The Serious Artist" 49). When Chinese ideograms as a cluster appear within the lines of his Cantos, they create "patterned energy" of "stillness," in Pound's words, this power "over wild beasts." The ideogrammically "patterned energy" encourages human beings to "preserve the tradition," which Pound thinks the tradition "we preserve" as "a beauty," "and not a set of fetters to bind us"(Pound, "The Tradition" 91). "A return to origins invigorates because it is a return to nature and reason. The man who returns to origins does so because he wishes to behave in the eternally sensible manner"(Pound, "The Tradition" 92). Pound provides readers theoretical grounds for his placing more than one hundred Chinese ideograms in Cantos in an aim of preserving Chinese Confucian tradition. The Chinese ideograms appeared in "Cantos LI-CIX" stand individually as visual images, but when combined together, they present readers a brief verbal history of ancient China from the prehistoric times to the last Qing/Tsing Dynasty, and they also represent the ethic codes reflected in the canons of Chinese classics. In "Canto LIII," from three Chinese characters " [TEXT UNREADABLE IN ORIGINAL SOURCE]," "[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] " and " [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]," names of three virtuous emperors "Yao," "Shun/Chun" and "Yu/Yu" in the prehistoric times, through Pound's favourite characters "[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]," "new, daily, daily, new" carved on Emperor Tching's bath tub, to the first dynasty with the Chinese character "[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]," "Xia/Hia," the poet began his narrative parallel to the French Catholic Jesuit Father de Mailla's translation of Histoire generate de la China (1777-85) and the English missionary James Legge's translation of The Chinese Classics (1893). This precision enables the poet to still these pictorial Chinese characters into "still points" within the lines of Cantos, and through the dimension of "stillness," these stilled spatial shapes are set free, moving along the temporal line.

When Pound earnestly writes the Chinese ideograms "[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]" literally "call thing by their right names," at the end of "Canto LI," Pound seems to declare his exploration of "orthography" as "a disciple of morale and of morals"(Kenner, The Poetry of Ezra Pound 38). His pronunciation of "the fourth dimension of stillness" as "the power over wild beasts" in "Canto XLIX," to some extent, offers a good example for the right name of the ekphrastic principle of "still movement," which can be seen as a complement to the modern theory of ekphrasis.

The research paper is financially aided by the State Social Science Fund of China in 2011(Project No. 11BWW012).

Works Cited

Edwards, John Hamilton and William W. Vasse, eds. Annotated Index to the Cantos of Ezra Pound: Cantos I-LXXXIV Berkeley: U of California P, 1957.

Eliot, T. S. "Burnt Norton." The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909-1950. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1952:193.

Fenollosa, Ernest. The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry. Ed. Ezra Pound. San Francisco: City Lights, 1964.

Gefin, Laszlo K. Ideogram: Modern American Poetry. Milton Keynes: Open UP, 1982.

Heffernan, James A. W. "Ekphrasis and Representation." New Literary History 22. 2 (1991): 297316.

Kenner, Hugh. The Poetry of Ezra Pound. New York: New Directions, 1968.

--. The Pound Era. London: Faber and Faber, 1972.

Krieger, Murray. Ekphrasis: The Illusion of the Natural Sign. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins UP, 1992.

Legge, James. Trans. The Chinese Classics Vol. IV. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1893.

Murck, Alfreda. Poetry and Painting in Song China: The Subtle Art of Dissert. Cambridge and London: Harvard UP, 2000.

Paige, D. D. ed. The Letters of Ezra Pound 1907-1941. London: Faber and Faber, 1951.

Pound, Ezra. "Canto XLIX." The Cantos of Ezra Pound. London: Faber and Faber, 1964: 255-56.

--. Gaudier-Brezeska: A Memoir. New York: New Directions, 1961.

--. "The Serious Artist." "The Tradition." Literary Essays of Ezra Pound. Ed. T. S. Eliot. London: Faber and Faber, 1960: 41-57.

Snyder, Gary. "Riprap." Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems. San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1969.

Stevens, Wallace. Letters of Wallace Stevens. Ed. Holly Stevens. London: Faber and Faber, 1966.


Joan Qionglin Tan, College of Foreign Languages and International Studies of Hunan University , China No. 2, South Road, Yuelu Mountain, Changsha 410082, China Email:


(1.) This article was reprinted in the Appendix of Murray Krieger's book Ekphrasis: The Illusion of the Natural Sign, 263-88. It was first published in The Poet as Critic, ed. by Frederick P. W. McDowell (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1967), 3-26. Later, it reappeared in Krieger's another book with the title of "The Ekphrasis Principle and the Still Movement of Poetry; or, Lokoon Revisited," see Murray Krieger, The Play and Place of Criticism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1967), 105-28. The quotations in this paper are taken from Krieger's book Ekphrasis.

(2.) The quotation comes from Shen Kua's Mengxi bitan (Brush Talks from Dream Brook), and the translation is given by Alfreda Murck in her book Poetry and Painting in Song China, 66.

(3.) Wallace Stevens wrote seven tiles except the picture title of "Mountain Market, Clearing Mist" in his letter to his wife Elsie Viola Kachel (known as Elsie Moll) dated "March 18, 1909." See Letters of Wallace Stevens, 137-38.

(4.) The translation of this stanza is given by James Legge in "The Prolegomena" of The Chinese Classics Vol. IV, that is, "Splendid are the clouds and bright,/All aglow with various light!/Grand the sun and moon move on;/Daily dawn succeeds to dawn."

(5.) The words come from Ezra Pound's letter to Felix E. Schelling dated "June, 1915."
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Author:Tan, Joan Qionglin
Publication:Forum for World Literature Studies
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Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2013
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