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Pound as Anthologist
Over the course of his career, Pound compiled several book-length poetry anthologies. These collections, as Pound’s publisher James Laughlin said, “enabled him to publicize contemporary poets he liked and to establish critical values.” The first was Des Imagistes. Pound had several years earlier created the idea of “Imagism” and promptly recruited several friends into the fold, such as Hilda Doolittle and her husband Richard Aldington. The poet F.S. Flint wrote a manifesto, as demonstrated and edited by Pound, about them which was published in the March 1913 issue of Poetry. Pound’s anthology, published the following year, included work by H.D., Aldington, Flint, James Joyce, Williams, and Pound himself.
The next year, 1915, saw the publication of the Catholic Anthology, which Pound had compiled for the express reason of printing T.S. Eliot’s verse, notably “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. Pound also included work by Yeats, William Carlos Williams, Edgar Lee Masters, and Carl Sandburg.
Profile was published in 1932 by the Milanese publisher Giovanni Scheiwiller. Pound referred to it as a “collection of poems which have stayed in my memory”; it included poems by Eliot, Bunting, Mina Loy, Hemingway, Arthur Symons, and many others.
Active Anthology was published by Faber & Faber in England the following year; its stated intent was to introduce new poets, such as Louis Zukofsky and George Oppen. Pound also included work by E.E. Cummings, T.S. Eliot and Marianne Moore, among others.
Although not an anthology per se, Pound’s ABC of Reading was an enormously influential work of pedagogy; James Laughlin notes that Pound “uses his anthological method to show the poetry which makes up his ‘canon’.”
In 1964, New Directions published an anthology that Pound had assembled along with Marcella Spann, a young teacher who had visited Pound at St. Elizabeths Hospital. Titled Confucius to Cummings, the anthology was intended for classroom use and contains a “section for instructors” at the end. As the title indicates, it contains poems ranging from the ancient world to Yeats, Eliot, and Cummings.
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