ABC of Reading

Ounce of Pound: Grad School Edition

In the main I don’t see that teaching can do much more than expose counterfeit work, thus gradually leading the student to the valid. The hoax, the sham, the falsification become so habitual that they pass unnoticed; all this is fit matter for education. The student can in this field profit by his instructor’s experience. The natural destructivity of the young can function to advantage: excitement of the chase, the fun of detection could under favorable circumstances enliven the study. 

Whereas it is only maturer patience that can sweep aside a writer’s honest error, and overlook unaccomplished clumsiness or outlandishness or old-fashionedness, for the sake of the solid centre. 

-ABC of Reading, p. 193



When was the last time you read “Visits to St. Elizabeth’s” by Elizabeth Bishop, about going to see Pound when he was institutionalized? Probably a long time, right? Let’s refresh our memories:

>>The nursery rhyme style gives an unusual effect to the strange or unsettling descriptions of a psychiatric hospital in the poem. Likewise the poem treats Pound ambivalently describing him by turns as “honored”, “brave”, “cruel”, and “wretched” among other things.<<

And has the actual poem here. Try reading it out loud. 

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December 11th, 2008 / 11:32 am