chapter  3
12 Pages

‘Mad after foreign notions’: Ezra Pound, Imagism and the geography of the Orient


T. S. Eliot claimed in his introduction to Pound’s Selected Poems in 1928 that ‘Pound is the inventor of Chinese poetry for our time’ (Eliot 1928: xvi). Perhaps accepted at face value for many years, the claim cannot stand sustained examination today, in our postorientalist, postcolonial world. But the nature of Pound’s ‘invention’ or ‘exploration’ of Chinese and Japanese culture is worthy of further scrutiny in terms of trying to ascertain the locations of modernist poetry such as Imagism. By which I mean how we locate this poetry within a nexus of actual and imagined geographies, material and metaphoric spaces.1