This talk aims to discuss the book-length project entitled Ezra Pound and Chinese Landscapes. The imagined Chinese landscapes that Pound creates in The Cantos are inextricably connected to his quest for an earthly paradise. The model for his own earthly paradise can be found in the imagery of paradise enacted in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Similar to Dante’s depiction of it, paradise for Pound appears only in hints, glimpses and flashes. To paraphrase Pound himself, “Le Paradis n’est pas artificiel / but spezzato apparently / it exists only in fragments unexpected excellent sausage, / the smell of mint (74/438). To create a paradise out of poetry requires Pound to construct the state imaginatively. It demands that he eschew artificial unity in favour of an inclusive, organic, earthly form that is rooted in a closeness with abundant nature. Such a reverence for nature’s goodness appears in his line, “respect the vegetal powers” (85/167). Pound’s Chinese landscapes are preoccupied by agricultural rhythms and a beauty enhanced by those rhythms — namely, a natural beauty untouched by human intervention.
Ezra Pound and Chinese Landscapes
Dr Kent Su is Lecturer at Shanghai International Studies University. His research lies primarily in modernist art and poetry, ecology, Chinese philosophical traditions, comparative literature and transnational studies. He has written book reviews for Review of English Studies and articles for Neohelicon, Notes & Queries, The Literary Encyclopaedia as well as International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies.