chapter  10
“The Way to Learn the Music of Verse Is to Listen to It”: Ezra Pound’s the Pisan Cantos and the “Sequence of the Musical Phrase”
Pages 14

This chapter focuses on Ezra Pound’s engagement with music over four decades, brought into focus in the Pisan Cantos (1948). Towards the end of World War II, Pound was held as a US traitor in a prisoner of war camp outside Pisa. In those months, separated from his books and coterie, Pound produced a lyrical meditation in Cantos LXXIVLXXXIV that draws heavily on his experiences and theories of music between 1907 and 1939. From 1907, Pound had worked as a musical agent, critic, antiquarian, composer, and theorist. He was closely involved with the emerging early music scene-collaborating with Walter Morse Rummel in Paris, W. B. Yeats and Arnold Dolmetsch in London, and Olga Rudge in Rappallo. He was also actively engaged with the musical avant-garde-working as the music agent for Katherine Ruth Heyman’s championing of Scriabin and Rummel’s of Debussy, learning composition from the modernist composer George Antheil, and being inuenced by Igor Stravinsky.1