Art is a journey into the most unknown thing of all - oneself. Nobody knows his own frontiers… I don’t think I’d ever want to take a road if I knew where it led.

Louis Kahan

CATHAY

Translations by
Ezra Pound

(1915)

Here is the complete text for each of the nineteen poems originally appearing in Ezra Pound’s 1915 collection Cathay. Neither rightly translations nor original poems, they are instead an ingenious highbred devised by the young Pound soon after the widow of Ernest Fenollosa appointed him the literary executor of her husband’s work. Pound discovered a working manuscript of notes on a series of poems by the Chinese poets Li P’o and Wang We’i, among others. (Fenollosa provided the Japanese equivalents of their names, Rihaku and Omakitsu, respectively.) When writing the poems, Pound had little knowledge of either the Chinese language or its ideograms. From the time of their original publication and through most of the 20th Century, Pound’s creative explorations provided both a profound inspiration and a source for great debate. The Cathay poems have undergone scrutiny and controversy for nearly a hundred years while at the same time having a profound influence on Western poetry, including major American and European poets throughout the 20th Century. It greatly encouraged and influenced the imagist movement. It’s style was easily akin to the straighforward American style of poetry.

http://paintedricecakes.org/languagearts/poetry/cathay_pound.html



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    CATHAY Translations by Ezra Pound (1915)
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