Chinese Imagism When developing his ideas for Imagism, Ezra Pound found such inspiration in Chinese poetry

that he declared, “It is possible that this century may find a new Greece in China.”1 In 1915, Pound published Cathay, a translation of fifteen Chinese poems. Possessing no knowledge of Chinese himself, he based his translations entirely upon the glosses and notes of Ernest Fenollosa, an American scholar who was fascinated with the Chinese language. Later scholars have both defended and shed doubt upon Pound’s translations. His inaccuracies are obvious and undeniable, but his apologists claim that he succeeded in capturing the spirit of Chinese poetry in his translations. How many of Pound’s ideas about Chinese poetry were invented by himself, and how many can we trace back to original Chinese poetry and criticism? I will approach this question first by examining Pound’s most famous Imagist poem, “At a Station in the Metro,” and one of his translations from Cathay, “A Jewel Stairs’ Grievance,” using both Pound’s own perspectives on Imagism as well as early Chinese literary theory. And finally, I will examine a Li Po poem, “At Su Terrace Viewing the Past,” and discuss how applicable Pound’s Imagist concepts and ideas about Chinese poetry actually are to an authentic and untranslated Chinese poem. (All three poems can be found in the appendix) One of the most striking aspects of Imagist poetry is its precise rendering of the details of real, concrete objects. Pound, in his own self-proclaimed doctrine, enumerates two principles that guide this approach to writing poetry: 1. Direct treatment of the “thing” whether subjective or objective. 2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute the presentation.2 Pound scorned the affected and archaic diction, obscure abstractions and generalizations, and convoluted grammatical structures of older poems. He wanted to scrape away “the crust of dead
1 2

Literary Essays of Ezra Pound (New York, 1968), 215. Literary Essays of Ezra Pound, 3.

English, the sediment present in my own available vocabulary”3 through a new economical use of language, in which sentences and words are pared down to leave only the essential and the concrete. This new way of writing poetry embodied restraint, simplicity, and precision. Instead of vague and abstruse abstractions, Imagist poetry yields the texture of experience in all its sensuous and tangible detail. “In a Station in the Metro” was initially a thirty line poem. Condensed and reduced to two lines, it became one of the most precise and accomplished Imagist poems ever written. Both lines are simple and straightforward in grammatical structure, consisting of two distinct images: faces in the metro and flower petals. Pound asserted that “the natural object is always the adequate symbol,”4 so concrete images should always be preferred to logical language or generalizations. He believed that images radiate with a fertile suggestiveness that is absent from abstract language. In “Chinese ‘Lyric Criticism’ in the Six Dynasties,” Kang-i Sun Chang describes a similar concept found in Chinese poetry. “Symbolic language,” as opposed to analytical language, “deals with sensual impressions and their qualitative implication” and “dwell[s] on the most essential qualities of objects.”5 Similarly, Lu Chi, in his Essay on Literature, also speaks of the emotional power of exacting imagery: “every detail in high and low relief [the poet] seeks to perfect… Such precision must be wrought that it appeals to the heart as true.”6 For Pound, this precision must contribute to the description of a luminous image, which “presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time” (emphasis added).7 A “complex” must convey a manifold array of contradictory and ambiguous emotions and ideas. All these notions converge and interact in the image to lead to “that flash of sudden
3 4

Literary Essays of Ezra Pound, 193. Poetry (Chicago: Modern Poetry Association, March 1913). 5 Kang-i Sun Chang, “Chinese Lyric Criticism in the Six Dynasties,” in Theories of the Arts in China, ed. Susan Bush and Christian Murck (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), 215. 6 Lu Chi, Essay on Literature, trans. by Shih-Hsiang Chen (Portland, ME: Anthoensen Press, 1953), 208. 7 Literary Essays of Ezra Pound, 4.

2

understanding.”8 In later developments of this idea, Pound labeled the image a “vortex,” which is a “radiant node or cluster… from which, and through which, and into which, ideas are constantly rushing.”9 Similar notions of complex images exist in ancient Chinese literary theory. Lu Chi says, “Words, as they expand, become all-evocative.”10 A few well-selected words are endlessly fertile. Liu Hsieh, in The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons, also emphasized the interplay between numerous ideas within the concrete poetic image: “the Ancient Poets operated on the principle of endless association of ideas. They lost themselves in the myriad of things completely absorbed in the visual and auditory sensations.”11 And according to Chang, “The poetic value of the simple image lies in its power to evoke endless associations regarding the essential qualities of the object in question, despite its brevity in presentation.” Pound sought to use the most minute and economical images to suggest the widest expanse of ideas. For both Pound and the ancient Chinese poets, a discrete image serves as the junction of multifarious feelings, the vortex visited by flowing ideas. The simplicity and conciseness of the image belies its incredible potential for complexity and the sweeping array of concepts contained within it. Consider the powerful and complex interplay of imagery in “In a Station of the Metro.” If we include the title as one of the lines of the poem, each line of the poem delineates a single image, laying out the whole poem in incredible simplicity. We move disjunctively from an image of machinery, to human beings, to nature. Though these images seem distinct and unrelated, the layout of the poem implicitly draws parallels between them. In what way do the

8 9

James F. Knapp, Ezra Pound (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1979), 76. Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir (1960 reprint), 92. 10 Lu, 207. 11 Liu Hsieh, The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons, trans. by Vincent Yu-chung Shih (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1983), 478-479.

3

faces of people resemble the petals of flowers, and what does their position in the subway say about these images? The subterranean setting of this poem suggests something dark, suppressed, and secret. The word “apparition,” which means ghosts, likens this underground site to Hades, even though the modern technological apparatus of the metro contrasts sharply with the suggestion of an alternate classical place. The black color of the flower’s bough reinforces the sense of death connoted by Hades and the apparition. The apparitions and the soft petals of the flowers, which are ethereal and almost spiritually immaterial, are mentioned in context of the solid and fearsome mechanisms of a clamorous ironclad subway. The speaker discovers the stillness of diminutive flowers in a fleeting moment amongst the speed of the colossal metro. All these contradictory feelings of death and life, fragility and strength, and speed and stillness intersect in these simple compressed images. Thus, the faces can suggest death, fragility, and beauty all at once. Throughout each line of the poem, each image becomes smaller, from the metro to human beings to flowers. Ironically, this increasingly microscopic focus leads to an expansive enlargement of meaning and emotions. The poem’s rhythm and form underscore the discreteness and individual force of each of the images. In the last line, the triple stress on “wet, black bough” leaves us with a protracted image that lingers long after the poem has concluded. In the first line, each stress takes place on a noun word: apparition, faces, and crowd. Prepositional words are all unstressed. In addition, the original typography of “In a Station of the Metro” featured large spaces to separate each image (see appendix). Thus, not only does each line designate a distinct image, but each cluster of words also denotes a smaller specific image. The result is an unfolding of images through several “phases of perception.”12
12

Hugh Kenner, The Pound Era, (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971), 197.

4

This impressionistic display of imagery closely resembles Chinese characters. Pound was fascinated and influenced by Fenollosa’s The Chinese Character as a Medium for Poetry, in which Fenollosa argued that the Chinese language’s uniqueness and highly poetic qualities lay in the fact that it is ideographic. Later sinologists have pointed out that only a small proportion of Chinese characters are strictly ideographic, with most being phonetic. However, Fenollosa’s insight lies in the fact that each Chinese character, each syllable, carries a single distinct meaning whereas a single syllable of English may be completely nonsensical. The original typographic from of “In a Station of the Metro” resembles Chinese poetry if we view each cluster of words as a Chinese character. In a Chinese poem, each noun usually carries one stress and prepositional words are generally eliminated, which is the same effect Pound was trying to achieve in English by using one stress for each noun and leaving the prepositions unstressed. An important effect of this sequence of discrete images is a sense of timelessness. The utter lack of verbs in “In a Station of the Metro” yields the impression of a moment caught in time. As Kenner noted, “A verb is not a thing” (emphasis added),13 and thus its inclusion in a poem would contradict Pound’s Imagist principle of “direct treatment of the ‘thing’.” In Chinese poetry, the verb is often missing and must be inferred from the relationship between the set of given poetic images. Conversely, traditional Western poetry is usually narrative, with time progressing throughout the poem. But in Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro,” there is a sense of simultaneity in which neither the metro, the faces, or the flower comes first or last. In Chinese poetry, emphasis is often placed on description rather than narrative, just as Pound emphasized “presentation” over action. Chinese poetry has been dubbed “pictorial” not simply because of the illustrative ideographs of the Chinese language but due also to the descriptive quality of

13

Kenner, 224.

5

many poems. Chinese poetry is like a frozen snapshot, in which transient phenomena are glimpsed and arrested in time. Lu Chi in particular theorizes upon the liberation of time and space in poetry. He says, “In a sheet of paper is contained the Infinite, / And, evolved from an inch-sized heart, an endless panorama.”14 Thus, the poet collapses the time and space of infinity and an endless panorama into a sheet of paper and an inch-sized heart. Regarding the poet, Lu Chi says, “Eternity he sees in a twinkling / And the whole world he views in one glance.”15 Here, there is no distinction between past and present or here and there, since all are unified and contained within the oneness of a single twinkling or glance. This idea of the minute containing the whole brings us to another important idea in Imagist and Chinese poetry: synecdoche. Mentions of synecdoche, in which a part is substituted for the whole, is ubiquitous in Lu Chi and Liu Hsieh’s writings. Lu Chi said, “all things are contained under the tip of [the poet’s] brush.”16 Liu Hsieh speaks at length about how a few paired characters that describe only a few minute qualities can recall a whole larger object. He says, “with ts’an-tz’u [describing the uneven lengths of water plants] and wo-jo [describing the glossiness of mulberry trees], each consisting of only two characters, the Ancient Poets have given us perfectly realistic descriptions of things. In all these expressions, they have used a part to sum up the whole.”17 In the note accompanying his translation of Li Po’s “Jewel Stairs’ Grievance,” Pound makes it clear that he wants the reader to extrapolate the whole from each minute detail given in the poem. In this poem, a woman waits for her lover but he fails to arrive. Pound’s note reads, “Jewel stairs, therefore a palace. Grievance, therefore there is something to complain of. Gauze
14 15

Lu, 207. Lu, 206. 16 Lu, 207. The original sentence read, “all things become plastic under the tip…” Professor Chang suggested The correction, “are contained,” during class. 17 Liu, 479.

6

stockings, therefore a court lady.” In conclusion, “The poem is especially prized because she utters no direct reproach.” Thus, the speaker’s yearning, loneliness, and disappointment are all the more alluring due to their “oriental obliquity of reference.”18 The power of Pound’s images lies in the subtlety of their suggestive power. Each image or detail, despite its minuteness, contains within it the potential for an expansive and complex range of emotions. Synecdoche is a subset of metonymy, which Chang sees as a poetic tool in which “the self extends itself metonymically to embrace the outside world.” The other method of extending the self “results from a metaphorical transposition of self and object [which] may be viewed as one of ‘equivalence.’ In any case, this empathic union of personal feelings and the outside world is precisely what is meant by the traditional Chinese formula ch’ing-ching chiao-jung.”19 Like Chang, Pound emphasized the idea of a poetic “equation” to achieve connections between outer visual images and inner abstract feelings. This empathy between the objective outside world and subjective internal emotions is exactly what Pound tried to capture in his Imagist poetry. He was “trying to record the precise instant when a thing outward and objective transforms itself, or darts into a thing inward and subjective.”20 According to Knapp, “Pound was interested in how the world can be known through images which fuse and focus the enormous complexities of external object and internal emotion.”21 He wanted to represent the unseen array of complex emotions and ideas through the simple seen objects in physical reality. This relationship between the exterior and interior, and between man and nature, is apparent in “At a Station of the Metro.” In fitting accordance with Chang’s principle of metaphoric equivalence, the first and second lines of the poem can be viewed as one of Pound’s poetic equations, “The apparition of these faces = Petals on a wet, black bough.” The alternation
18 19

Kenner, 202. Chang, 216. 20 K. K. Ruthven, A Guide to Ezra Pound’s Personae (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969), 153. 21 69.

7

between interior and exterior occurs through the switch from the subterranean metro station inside to the flower outside, while the relationship between man and nature emerges through the pairing of human faces with flower petals. Liu Hsieh also valued the empathy of the external environment with the poet’s emotions: “when objects in the physical world change, our minds are also affected… All things exert influence on one another.”22 While standing by the Hao river, Chuang Tzu empathizes with the fish in the water. This Taoist unity between man and nature imparts a sense of the oneness of all things and affirms our ability to know through subjective experience. In “Jewel Stairs’ Grievance,” the lover feels her betrayed love dying away while nature empathizes in its state of autumn, the season associated with the beginnings of death and extinction. The dew that soaks the stairs and her stockings are nature’s water droplets, which sympathetically parallel her own implied tears. Thus far, I have only examined the basic concepts of Imagism using a Pound poem and Pound’s translation of a Chinese poem. However, Pound’s “translations” are notorious for their inaccuracies. Besides the obvious difficulties of translating poems without knowledge of the native language, Pound also intentionally altered, embellished, and appended to the Chinese poems. Some scholars defend Pound, asserting that, whereas many of Pound’s predecessors translated Chinese poetry “into the overelaborate and sometimes precious diction of late nineteenth-century verse,” Pound’s “mistakes were sometimes brilliantly intuitive of the qualities of the Chinese originals.” 23 In fact, the Chinese version of “Jewel Stairs’ Grievance” may actually be more Imagist than Pound’s translation. There are no pronouns in the Chinese version,

22 23

Liu, 477. Knapp, 78.

8

and thus, according to Wai-lim Yip, both “she” and “I” are possibilities as the pronoun. This ambiguous indeterminacy is an open invitation for the reader to identify with the protagonist.24 Nevertheless, Pound’s translations are more his own creations than a faithful interpretation of the originals. How does an actual Chinese poem match up to Imagist principles? Pound believed that Li Po was “the greatest poet of China”25 and most of the poems translated in Cathay were originally written by Li Po. The last item in the appendix, “At Su Terrace Viewing the Past,” is yet another poem by Li Po, this time in its original Chinese. In this poem, the speaker reflects upon Ku-su Terrace, a formerly splendid site that was overthrown in 472 B.C. A close examination of this Li Po poem will reveal the Imagist qualities of an original Chinese composition. Li Po’s choice of characters reflects the precision, detail, and impressionistic rendering of the scene. Most of the characters are nouns or adjectives. All of the nouns used are concretethey consist of gardens, a terrace, a tree, gatherers, songs, a moon, a palace, and a lady. The only noun that can be considered abstract is chun, or “spring”, and this word still describes a concrete season or period of time rather than an vague idea. The first two lines of “At Su Terrace Viewing the Past” consist solely of nouns and adjectives to establish a richly textured descriptive setting for the poem. When translated into English, Watson had to add the articles and prepositions. These extraneous words actually detract from the strictly impressionistic sensation of the poem. In the Chinese version, every syllable is essential to the description. According Pound’s own self-proclaimed principles of Imagist writing, Li Po “use[d] absolutely no word that does not contribute the presentation.”

24 25

Wai-lim Yip, Ezra Pound’s Cathay (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1969), 66-69. “Exile’s Letter, from the Chinese of Rihaku (Li Po),” the April 1915 Poetry

9

In the third and fourth lines of the poem, there are two verbs. However, one of them is a “to be” verb that serves only to describe a concrete object. The other verb, “shine”, functions more as an adjective describing the moon and modifying its relationship to the terrace than as a verb relating a sequence of action. Translated into English, it becomes the past tense “shone” because it is evoking the past rather than narrating present-tense events. The lack of action words or recounting of narrative incidents results in an Imagist sensation of simultaneity or timelessness. The juxtaposition of old and new images lends the poem the complexity and nuance achieved by Pound’s various juxtapositions in “In a Station of the Metro.” The three distinct images in the first line all deal with time and its correlation with life and death. “Old gardens” and “ruined terrace” suggest the death and desolation of a formerly resplendent palace. In contrast to these images are the “willow trees new.” This image of youth and new life serves as a transition to the next line, which describes a vibrant and vivacious spring, filled with animated caltrop gatherers and clear songs. Contrary to the cheerful tone one would expect in describing such lively images, the speaker describes the spring as “not excellent.” By translating these two characters as “unbearable,” Watson helps the English reader interpret the meaning invested in Li Po’s subtle and indirect words: the current joy of spring is too unbearable for the viewer due to its tragic contrast with the devastation of the old gardens and ruined terrace. There are only lingering traces of a once great place that is now wrecked and inert. The willow trees grow out of the remains while the terrace continues to decay. New life has begun eclipsing and covering over King Wu’s terrace in complete indifference. Soon, memories and traces of the old place will be all but eliminated. Li Po’s poem is an attempt to give the terrace immortality. The acute sensitivity to time in this poem is at once an acknowledgment of its power and an attempt to

10

overcome it by freezing this scene or moment in time by inscribing it into the Chinese poetic canon. Line 3 of the poem says, “but now there is only the west river moon.”26 Though the first two lines clearly describe the terrace’s present conditions, the “but now” of line 3 would only be appropriate if the previous lines described the past. Thus, the speaker’s implication is that, though he was describing the present, he was thinking about the past. Again, contradictory notions of past and present enhance the complexity of the images in the first two lines. The concluding image of line 3, “the west river moon,” evokes the Imagist sense of timelessness. The moon that shines upon the present landscape is the same moon that also shone upon the palace of King Wu in the past, thus providing transition between the third and forth lines. The moon is a symbol of constancy- it is the “only” thing that remained the same- and it serves as the focal point of the poet’s meditation. Contained within the moon are memories and reflections of both the past and the present. With the moon we find Pound’s concept of the “vortex,” in which a minute and distinct image contains and collapses such opposing notions as past and present. The synecdochic idea of the minute containing something larger and more complete is present not only with the image of the moon but is found throughout the poem. This particular terrace that serves as the subject for “At Su Terrace Viewing the Past” serves as a synecdoche for King Fu-ch’a’s entire state of Wu, or King Fu-ch’a’s entire reign. Thus, the desolation of this one palace symbolizes the extinction of his whole once-proud dominion. This reading is supported by line 4 of the poem, which mentions King Wu’s palace. The shift from Ku-su Terrace to King Wu’s palace means that, though the poem’s images fix upon the terrace, these images are meant to address larger themes of the love and folly that destroyed an entire state.
26

Watson’s translation is “and now,” but zhi can be more scrupulously translated into “but”.

11

Watson accompanies his translation with the note that “the king’s infatuation for Hsi-shih, the ‘lady’ of the poem, weakened his state and led to its overthrow.” Though Watson’s translation of the poem specified a “lady”, the Chinese version only made an abstruse reference to a ren, or person, in the palace of King Wu. From this final and decisive word of the poem, the reader is meant to gather that this person was a lady and the king’s lover, and from this conclusion the reader recognizes Li Po’s allusion to the historical event. The subtle implications of this allusion make the poem both a lament and a testament to love’s power. Though poets usually depict love as a positive and generative force, love in Li Po’s poem is destructive and fatal. Thus, both the beauty of love and the charm of the new willow tree in spring are complicated by their tragic relationship to the fall of the state of Wu. Whereas the lady’s love portended destruction, the spring makes the memory of the destruction all the more poignant. Pound’s juxtapositions of outside and inside, technology and nature, and hardness and fragility are all reminiscent of the ambiguity of feeling achieved by Li Po’s poem. Thus, Li Po’s poem, read in Chinese, embodies the Imagist principles Ezra Pound thought he had found in Chinese poetry. In both Chinese and Imagist poems, natural objected are infused with implied emotions of the most complex and contradictory nature. Minute images connote large themes, and man and nature share a metaphorical empathy. To produce a sense of timelessness, emphasis is placed on description rather than narrative. Despite Pound’s general ignorance regarding the Chinese language, he managed to discern the descriptive and concrete power of traditional Chinese poetry.

12

Appendix of Poems

In a Station of the Metro, by Ezra Pound The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough.

Jewel Stairs’ Grievance, by Li Po, translated by Ezra Pound, who also added the note The jewelled steps are already quite white with dew, It is so late that the dew soaks my gauze stockings, And I let down the crystal curtain And watch the moon through the clear autumn. NOTE: Jewel stairs, therefore a palace. Grievance, therefore there is something to complain of. Gauze stockings, therefore a court lady, not a servant who complains. Clear autumn, therefore he has no excuse on account of the weather. Also she has come early, for the dew has not merely whitened the stairs, but has soaked her stockings. The poem is especially prized because she utters no direct reproach.)

13

Word for word gloss of At Su Terrace Viewing the Past Title Su terrace view past Line 1 old gardens ruined terrace Line 2 Line 3 Line 4 caltrop but once (previously) gatherers now shine (shone) clear only Wu songs is

tree willow (willow tree) not excellent (unbearable) west river in

new spring moon person (lady)

king palace (King Wu's palace)

At Su Terrace Viewing the Past, translated by Burton Watson (Written when the post visited the site of Ku-su Terrace, built by Fu-ch’a, king of Wu, just south of the Yangtze; the king’s infatuation for Hsi-shih, the “lady” of the poem, weakened his state and led to its overthrow in 472 B.C. by its rival, the state of Yueh.) Old gardens, a ruined terrace, willow trees new; caltrop gatherers, clear chant of songs, a spring unbearable and now there is only the west river moon that shone once on a lady in the palace of the king of Wu.

14

The Poetry of Wang Wei, Pauline Yu “underlying oneness of all things” and “sense of stasis and timelessness typical of the poet’s works” (Yu, 157) “verbless evocations of the landscape” (Yu, 159) “Wang Wei occasionally suggests the integrality of man and nature by means of a pathetic fallacy, the transference of human emotions to natural objects. This is true of poem 101, “The Red Peony,” where the poet further indicates that his understanding of the flower’s true feelings can penetrate its deceptively gay exterior.” (161) Wang Wei = Omakitsu Li Po = Rihaku T’ao Ch’ien = To-Em-Mei adj: 111111 noun: 1111111 verb: 1(to be)1(shine) conjunction: 1 adverb: 111 IMAGE/VORTEX  images often contain the persona’s projected emotions. they are the receptacle of emotions  “An image … is real because we know it directly.”27  Jewel stairs: discrete images. “a woman whose lover has failed to appear at their rendezvous” “anger and disappointment” “the creation of images which convey meanings of great complexity and power to move” complex emotions of a particular situation “this capacity to evoke conflicting emotions, to communicate thought and feeling at the same moment” CONNECTION BETWEEN INNER/OUTER for Pound, subjective experience could yield objective truth  subjectivity/objectivity  frequently adopts the diction of the persona, subjective presentation of the persona’s point of view  “objectivity of the world we touch” (Knapp, 60).  “That is, he was interested in how we know the world beyond ourselves, how we see it, and how we sometimes respond with feeling… the immense complexity of that moment’s perception… luminous detail” (64)  interconnectedness/interrelatedness of all things, connection between external world and emotion. oneness of the universe  SWITCH TO TIME/SPACE?: connections between disparate words and images: “the single line is the unit of composition; the Imagist principle, that a poem may build its effects out of things it sets before the mind’s eye by naming them; and the lyrical principle, that of words or names, being ordered in time, are bound together and recalled into each other’s presence by recurrent sounds.” (Kenner, 199) rectification of names, simultaneity, connection between all. (TIME/SPACE) assonance, alliteration, internal rhyme.  Fenollosa’s essay on “The Chinese Written Character As A Medium for Poetry”  Fenollosa’s notion that “the Chinese ideograph is not primarily phonetic, that is preserves the concrete, pictorial representation which had been its origin.” (Knapp, 75). So, whereas in English, the connection between the word and meaning is arbitrary, in Chinese the connection is much more concrete and real. “Fenollosa saw concrete metaphor as capable of communicating such rich and valid insight into the world because he believed it to be firmly rooted in the very reality it would describe.” (Knapp, 76)  “Had the world not been full of homologies, sympathies, and identities, thought would have been starved and language chained to the obvious. There would have been no bridge whereby to cross from the minor truth of the seen to the major truth of the unseen.”28  Pound’s influence from Confucian rectification of names  non-arbitrary signifier and signifiers: “The stubborn conviction… that symbols ought to correspond with things, the ideal language…” (Kenner, 224)  “supposition that the characters imitated not speech but Nature” (Kenner, 227)  ideographs comprise about a tenth of the written language  Chinese “Lyric Criticism” in the Six Dynasties, Kang-i Sun Chang

 

27 28

Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir (1960 reprint), 86. The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry, ed. Ezra Pound (1920; reprint San Francisco, n.d.), 21f

15

“The basis of lyricism is the poet’s inner-directed private experience. By definition, private experience is nothing but a mental state experienced by an individual at a particular time and place [a snapshot].” (Chang, 215) (TIME/SPACE)

Bibliography  James F. Knapp, Ezra Pound (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1979)  Hugh Kenner, The Pound Era, (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971)  William Yip: Ezra Pound’s Cathay  Chinese “Lyric Criticism” in the Six Dynasties, Kang-i Sun Chang:  Lu Chi, “Essay on Literature”  Liu Hsieh, “The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons”  Burton Watson, The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984)  Pauline Yu, The Poetry of Wang Wei

assonance of apparition and black: “The strong identificaiton of the faces withth epetals on a wet, black bough is enforced by the selected epithet of ‘emotional apparition’ black, a qsuality that corresponds with, and merges into, the word apparition.” (Yip, 60)

16

Pound’s imagism and Chinese literary theory First go through two of Pound’s poems (one he wrote and one translation) to address the principles of Imagism and how they’re similar to concepts in Chinese poetry. I really think that Pound’s imagism is very closely linked to Chinese poetry, even though he was a bad translator. So look at one or two more Chinese poems in the original? At Su Terrace Viewing the Past, by Li Po. --------------------------------------------------- introduction  T.S. Eliot, in 1928, called him “the inventor of Chinese poetry for our time.”29  a new Renaissance: “It is possible that this century may find a new Greece in China.”30  first look at one of the earlier and most famous Imagist poem and a Pound translation of a Li Po poem, then look at a Li Po and Wang Wei poem themselves to see if they embody these Imagist qualities or if Pound simply imposed his notion of Imagism on Chinese poetry  Cathay  a volume of fifteen poems. the poems were all based on Fenollosa’s notes- literal, word-for-word glosses under transcription of the original Chinese characters  “More recent scholars, however, have begun to demonstrate the Pound’s ‘mistakes were sometimes brilliantly intuitive of qualities in the Chinese originals which Fenollosa had obscured completely.” (Knapp, 78)  “What Pound accomplished in Cathay was the application of imagist principles of composition to poems which had previously been translated only into the overelaborate and sometimes precious diction of late nineteenth-century verse.” (Knapp, 78)  Pound felt himself an exile, a feeling that pervades Cathay  PRECISE/DETAIL: concreteness, explicit rendering  “1. Direct treatment of the “thing” whether subjective or objective. 2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute the presentation.”31  “the crust of dead English, the sediment present in my own available vocabulary”32  “They emphasize a concrete, economical use of language…” (Knapp, 58)  “pare… language down to a spareness where image alone could accomplish what pages of discursive prose would only blur and falsify.” (Knapp, 65) avoid generalizations, abstractness  “texture of experience”  “the natural object is always the adequate symbol”33  Chang, lyric poetry: “Whereas analytical language [and, by extension, generalizing or abstracting language] is used to present objective reality and emphasizes the referent…, symbolic language is the proper medium for representing the aesthetic experience in that it focuses on the ‘quality’ of things. The former refers to such external distinctions as ‘this’ and ‘that,’ while the latter deals with sensual impressions and their qualitative implication.” (Chang, 215)  Lu Ji, Essay on Lit: “every detail in high and low relief he seeks to perfect… such precision must be wrought that it appeals to the heart as true” (Lu, 208)  In a Station of the Metro: condensed from a 30-line poem, using only two complete images.  IMAGE/VORTEX  “An ‘Image’ is that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time.”34 (emphasis added)  “His image was a luminous point… leading to that flash of sudden understanding” (Knapp, 76)  images often contain the persona’s projected emotions. they are the receptacle of emotions  concrete, visible images to communicate a complex array of invisible feelings and ideas.  “The image… is a radiant node or cluster; it is what I can, and must perforce, call a VORTEX, from which , and through which, and into which, ideas are constantly rushing.”35 “An image … is real because we know it directly.”36  Chinese “Lyric Criticism” in the Six Dynasties, Kang-i Sun Chang: “This tendency to dwell on the most essential qualities of objects is in keeping with an important device employed by Chinese lyric poets…- namely, the use of the simple image… The poetic value of the simple image lies in its power to evoke endless associations regarding the

29 30

Introduction to Ezra Pound: Selected Poems, ed. T. S. Eliot (London, 1928). Literary Essays, 215. 31 Literary Essays, 3. 32 Literary Essays of Ezra Pound (New York, 1968), 193. 33 Poetry (March 1913) 34 Literary Essays, 4. 35 Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir (1960 reprint), 92. 36 Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir (1960 reprint), 86.

  

essential qualities of the object in question, despite its brevity in presentation.” Pound: image should be a vortex, with ideas flowing through it, out of it, and into it- the junction of multivarious feelings and ideas  Lu Chi, “Essay on Literature”: “The words, as they expand, become all-evocative”: the vortex!  Liu Hsieh, “The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons”: “the Ancient Poets operated on the principle of endless association of ideas. They lost themselves in the myriad of things completely absorbed in the visual and auditory sensations.” (Liu, 478-479) Jewel stairs: discrete images. “a woman whose lover has failed to appear at their rendezvous” “anger and disappointment” “the creation of images which convey meanings of great complexity and power to move” complex emotions of a particular situation In a Station: contrast between machines, people, and nature. 3 images, 3 lines. original typography of “In a Station of the Metro” (Kenner, 197): “five phases of perception.” concrete images, clusters of perception- two images, 5 images. connected only by prepositions which, if the poem were written in Chinese, would have been completely absent. double-meaning of apparition. power of each image. stress on “petals”, triple stress on wet, black bough- ending with an extremely powerful image, which lingers. the prepositional words are generally unstressed. The stresses take place on the noun words “apparition” “faces” and “crowd.” Indeed, there are no verbs or adjectives to begin with in the first line. “All the attributes of the faces (‘beautiful’ etc.) are suppressed. What is left is the uncertain, shady, strongly emotional, ethereal and incorporal quality of the moment in the word ‘apparition,’ a word that calls forth not one definite shad eof meaning, but several levles of suggestiveness. I does not say whether the faces are beautiful, fearful, sunken, tragical, but I suggests them all.” (Yip, 60) TIME/SPACE simultaneity  liberation from the limits of time and space  again: “1. Direct treatment of the “thing” whether subjective or objective. 2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute the presentation.”37 lack of verbs. “A verb is not a thing” (italics added, Kenner, 224). In Chinese poetry, the verb is often missing and must be inferred from the relationship between the set of given poetic images (give an example).  “this capacity to evoke conflicting emotions, to communicate thought and feeling at the same moment”  function of description in Chinese poetry: transient effects: since Chinese poems are more descriptive than narrative, there isn’t a whole lot of passage of time throughout the poem, rather, it is a single impression or descriptive snapshot of a moment in time that has become timeless. pictorial- that’s why Chinese poetry resembles painting. pictorial ideographs, pictorial poems- lack of verbs, lack of movement through time.  Lu Chi, “Essay on Literature”  “Eternity he sees in a twinkling / And the whole world he views in one glance.” (Lu, 206): minute contains all. no distinction between past and present, here and there. collapse of time and space. oneness of all things. (METONYMY)  “In a sheet of paper is contained the Infinite, / And, evolved from an inch-sized heart, an endless panorama.” collapse of space and time (METONYMY)  In a Station of the Metro: a cluster of images, unconnected by verbs. caught in time. arrested in time. a glimpse. even the title has no verbs- its only purpose is to situate. METONYMY  metonym: A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated, as in the use of Washington for the United States government or of the sword for military power.  Lu Chi, “Essay on Literature”: “And all things [are contained] under the tip of his brush” (the “are contained” a correction made by Professor Chang in class, Lu, 207): minute containing all  Liu Hsieh, “The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons”: “and with ts’an-tz’u [describing the uneven lengths of water plants] and wo-jo [describing the glossiness of mulberry trees], each consisting of only two characters, the Ancient Poets have given us perfectly realistic descriptions of things. In all these expressions, they have used a part to sum up the whole.” (Liu, 479)  Jewel Stairs  From the minute, extrapolate the whole: Pound’s comments on “The Jewel Stairs’ Grievance”: “Jewel stairs, therefore a palace. Grievance, therefore there is something to complain of. Gauze stockings, therefore a court lady…” (Knapp, 79): suggestive images.  “‘the Jewel Stairs’ Grievance’ is ‘especially prized because she offers no direct reproach,’ so Cathay essays an oriental obliquity of reference to what we are to understand as its true theme.” (202) implication, suggestiveness. CONNECTION BETWEEN INNER/OUTER for Pound, subjective experience could yield objective truth  subjectivity

37

Literary Essays, 3.

18

 
 

 frequently adopts the diction of the persona, subjective presentation of the persona’s point of view “objectivity of the world we touch” (Knapp, 60).  “trying to record the precise instant when a thing outward and objective transforms itself, or darts into a thing inward and subjective.”38 “That is, he was interested in how we know the world beyond ourselves, how we see it, and how we sometimes respond with feeling… the immense complexity of that moment’s perception… luminous detail” (64)  “Pound was interested in how the world can be known through images which fuse and focus the enormous complexities of external object and internal emotion.” (Knapp, 69)  Use the seen to represent the unseen  interconnectedness/interrelatedness of all things, connection between external world and emotion.  oneness of the universe  “the single line is the unit of composition; the Imagist principle, that a poem may build its effects out of things it sets before the mind’s eye by naming them; and the lyrical principle, that of words or names, being ordered in time, are bound together and recalled into each other’s presence by recurrent sounds.” (Kenner, 199) rectification of names, simultaneity, connection between all. (TIME/SPACE)  Fenollosa’s essay on “The Chinese Written Character As A Medium for Poetry”  Fenollosa’s notion that “the Chinese ideograph is not primarily phonetic, that is preserves the concrete, pictorial representation which had been its origin.” (Knapp, 75). So, whereas in English, the connection between the word and meaning is arbitrary, in Chinese the connection is much more concrete and real. “Fenollosa saw concrete metaphor as capable of communicating such rich and valid insight into the world because he believed it to be firmly rooted in the very reality it would describe.” (Knapp, 76)  “Had the world not been full of homologies, sympathies, and identities, thought would have been starved and language chained to the obvious. There would have been no bridge whereby to cross from the minor truth of the seen to the major truth of the unseen.”39  Pound’s influence from Confucian rectification of names  non-arbitrary signifier and signifiers: “The stubborn conviction… that symbols ought to correspond with things, the ideal language…” (Kenner, 224)  “supposition that the characters imitated not speech but Nature” (Kenner, 227)  ideographs comprise about a tenth of the written language  Liu Hsieh, “The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons”: “when objects in the physical world change, our minds are also affected… All things exert influence on one another.” (Liu, 477) oneness of all things.  Chinese “Lyric Criticism” in the Six Dynasties, Kang-i Sun Chang  “The basis of lyricism is the poet’s inner-directed private experience. By definition, private experience is nothing but a mental state experienced by an individual at a particular time and place [a snapshot].” (Chang, 215) (TIME/SPACE)  “When Chuang Tzu said, ‘I know it by standing here beside the Hao,’ he was actually referring to a level of knowledge similar to that of the aesthetic experience in which the self merges empathetically into the world of external objects.” (Chang, 216) knowledge through subjective experience.  Chinese “Lyric Criticism” in the Six Dynasties, Kang-i Sun Chang: how “symbolic language” of the “world of imagination” in poetry works: “if the self extends itself metonymically to embrace the outside world, then the creative process may be called, in Jakobson’s terminology, ‘contiguity.’ If, on the other hand, it results from a metaphorical transposition of self and object, then it may be viewed as one of ‘equivalence.’ In any case, this empathic union of personal feelings and the outside world is precisely what is meant by the traditional Chinese formula ch’ing-ching chiao-jung.” (Chang, 216) metonym: just like Pound’s comments on “Jewel Stairs’ Grievance” metaphor and equivalence = connections: just as Pound equates the petals on the flower with the faces from the subway stop-“It is a simile with ‘like’ suppressed: Pound called it an equation” (emphasis added, Kenner, 185). (METONYMY) Jewel Stairs: connection between nature and man: “clear autumn” and “dying” assonance, internal rhyme, alliteration. At a Station: sense of transformation, from people to flowers- a connection between man and nature. we get smaller and smaller- sense of a microscope- from station to people to flowers- looking within, inside the heart, to get to the without, the flowers of nature. contrast between inner and outer: underground in the metro, outside in nature. Li Po’s “At Su Terrace Viewing the Past” Up till now, we’ve examined all these basic concepts of Imagism using only a Pound poem and Pound’s translation of a Chinese poem, and Pound’s “translations” are notorious for being more of an original Pound poem rather than being a faithful transmution of a traditional Chinese poem. How does a more scrupulously translated Chinese poem match up to Pound’s Imagist criteria? while Ezra Pound’s translation of Jewel Stairs’ Grievance is, at best, questionable, even a more faithful translation of Chinese poetry exhibits the Imagistic effects that Pound was looking for. 

38 39

K. K. Ruthven, A Guide to Ezra Pound’s Personae (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969), 153. The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry, ed. Ezra Pound (1920; reprint San Francisco, n.d.), 21f

19


   


Jewel Stair’s Grievance: no pronouns in the Chinese version. according to Wai-lim Yip, “she” or “I” can be used as the pronoun. indeterminacy, invitation to the reader to identify with the protagonist, to be the protagonist. (Yip, 66-69) no verbs in the first two lines the new willow trees contrasted with the decaying age of the old gardens and ruined terrace. Sign of new life in a place that has died. the new willow trees at the end of the first line connected with the spring at the end of the second line. the spring is unbearable because of the tragic contrast between life and death. Bibliography  James F. Knapp, Ezra Pound (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1979)  Hugh Kenner, The Pound Era, (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971)  William Yip: Ezra Pound’s Cathay  Chinese “Lyric Criticism” in the Six Dynasties, Kang-i Sun Chang:  Lu Chi, “Essay on Literature”  Liu Hsieh, “The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons” Burton Watson, The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984) Pauline Yu, The Poetry of Wang Wei

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Appendix of poems: In a Station of the Metro (this first and most famous triumphant Imagist poem) The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough. (assonance of petal and wet, alliteration of black and bough) assonance of apparition and black: “The strong identificaiton of the faces withth epetals on a wet, black bough is enforced by the selected epithet of ‘emotional apparition’ black, a qsuality that corresponds with, and merges into, the word apparition.” (Yip, 60) Jewel Stairs’ Grievance, by Li Po The jewelled steps are already quite white with dew, (internal rhyme of quite and white, assonance of jewelled and dew) It is so late that the dew soaks my gauze stockings, (dew again recalling jewelled) And I let down the crystal curtain (alliteration of crystal curtain) And watch the moon through the clear autumn. (alliteration of clear with crystal curtain) (tr. Ezra Pound, who adds the following NOTE: Jewel stairs, therefore a palace. Grievance, therefore there is something to complain of. Gauze stockings, therefore a court lady, not a servant who complains. Clear autumn, therefore he has no excuse on account of the weather. Also she has come early, for the dew has not merely whitened the stairs, but has soaked her stockings. The poem is especially prized because she utters no direct reproach.)

At Su Terrace Viewing the Past, by Li Po (Written when the post visited the site of Ku-su Terrace, built by Fu-ch’a, king of Wu, just south of the Yangtze; the king’s infatuation for Hsi-shih, the “lady” of the poem, weakened his state and led to its overthrow in 472 B.C. by its rival, the state of Yueh.) Old gardens, a ruined terrace, willow trees new; caltrop gatherers, clear chant of songs, a spring unbearable and now there is only the west river moon that shone once on a lady in the palace of the king of Wu.

Wang Wei = Omakitsu Li Po = Rihaku T’ao Ch’ien = To-Em-Mei ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

20

The Poetry of Wang Wei, Pauline Yu “underlying oneness of all things” and “sense of stasis and timelessness typical of the poet’s works” (Yu, 157) “verbless evocations of the landscape” (Yu, 159) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

21

Pound’s imagism and Chinese literary theory --------------------------------------------------- introduction  T.S. Eliot, in 1928, called him “the inventor of Chinese poetry for our time.”40  a new Renaissance: “It is possible that this century may find a new Greece in China.”41  PRECISE/DETAIL: concreteness, explicit rendering  “1. Direct treatment of the “thing” whether subjective or objective. 2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute the presentation.”42  “the crust of dead English, the sediment present in my own available vocabulary”43  “They emphasize a concrete, economical use of language…” (Knapp, 58)  “pare… language down to a spareness where image alone could accomplish what pages of discursive prose would only blur and falsify.” (Knapp, 65) avoid generalizations, abstractness  “texture of experience”  “the natural object is always the adequate symbol”44  Chang, lyric poetry  PRECISE/DETAIL: “Whereas analytical language [and, by extension, generalizing or abstracting language] is used to present objective reality and emphasizes the referent…, symbolic language is the proper medium for representing the aesthetic experience in that it focuses on the ‘quality’ of things. The former refers to such external distinctions as ‘this’ and ‘that,’ while the latter deals with sensual impressions and their qualitative implication.” (Chang, 215)   “1. Direct treatment of the “thing” whether subjective or objective. 2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute the presentation.”45 lack of verbs. “A verb is not a thing” (italics added, Kenner, 224). In Chinese poetry, the verb is often missing and must be inferred from the relationship between the set of given poetic images (give an example).  the Image  “An ‘Image’ is that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time.”46  “His image was a luminous point… leading to that flash of sudden understanding” (Knapp, 76)  images often contain the persona’s projected emotions. they are the receptacle of emotions  Both Pound and Chinese poets used concrete, visible images to communicate a complex array of invisible feelings and ideas.  for Pound, subjective experience could yield objective truth  subjectivity  frequently adopts the diction of the persona, subjective presentation of the persona’s point of view  “objectivity of the world we touch” (Knapp, 60).  “trying to record the precise instant when a thing outward and objective transofrms itself, or darts into a thing inward and subjective.”47 “That is, he was interested in how we know the world beyond ourselves, how we see it, and how we sometimes respond with feeling… the immense complexity of that moment’s perception… luminous detail” (64)  “Pound was interested in how the world can be known through images which fuse and focus the enormous complexities of external object and internal emotion.” (Knapp, 69)  Use the seen to represent the unseen  interconnectedness/interrelatedness of all things, connection between external world and emotion.  Fenollosa’s essay on “The Chinese Written Character As A Medium for Poetry”  Fenollosa’s notion that “the Chinese ideograph is not primarily phonetic, that is preserves the concrete, pictorial representation which had been its origin.” (Knapp, 75). So, whereas in English, the connection between the word and meaning is arbitrary, in Chinese the connection is much more concrete and real. “Fenollosa saw concrete metaphor as capable of communicating such rich and valid insight into the world because he believed it to be firmly rooted in the very reality it would describe.” (Knapp, 76)

40 41

Introduction to Ezra Pound: Selected Poems, ed. T. S. Eliot (London, 1928). Literary Essays, 215. 42 Literary Essays, 3. 43 Literary Essays of Ezra Pound (New York, 1968), 193. 44 Poetry (March 1913) 45 Literary Essays, 3. 46 Literary Essays, 4. 47 K. K. Ruthven, A Guide to Ezra Pound’s Personae (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969), 153.

“Had the world not been full of homologies, sympathies, and identities, thought would have been starved and language chained to the obvious. There would have been no bridge whereby to cross from the minor truth of the seen to the major truth of the unseen.”48  Pound’s influence from Confucian rectification of names  non-arbitrary signifier and signifiers: “The stubborn conviction… that symbols ought to correspond with things, the ideal language…” (Kenner, 224)  “supposition that the characters imitated not speech but Nature” (Kenner, 227)  ideographs comprise about a tenth of the written language  simultaneity  liberation from the limits of time and space  “this capacity to evoke conflicting emotions, to communicate thought and feeling at the same moment”  function of description in Chinese poetry: transient effects: since Chinese poems are more descriptive than narrative, there isn’t a whole lot of passage of time throughout the poem, rather, it is a single impression or descriptive snapshot of a moment in time that has become timeless. pictorial- that’s why Chinese poetry resembles painting. pictorial ideographs, pictorial poems- lack of verbs, lack of movement through time.  Cathay  a volume of fifteen poems. the poems were all based on Fenollosa’s notes- literal, word-for-word glosses under transcription of the original Chinese characters  “More recent scholars, however, have begun to demonstrate the Pound’s ‘mistakes were sometimes brilliantly intuitive of qualities in the Chinese orignals which Fenollosa had obscured completely.” (Knapp, 78)  “What Pound accomplished in Cathay was the application of imagist principles of composition to poems which had previously been translated only into the overelaborate and sometimes precious diction of late nineteenth-century verse.” (Knapp, 78)  Pound felt himself an exile, a feeling that pervades Cathay  Bibliography  James F. Knapp, Ezra Pound (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1979)  Hugh Kenner, The Pound Era, (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971)  William Yip: Ezra Pound’s Cathay  the Chinese literary theory thing -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Cathay: comment on “The Beautiful Toilet” (Knapp, 78-79) comment on “The Jewel Stairs’ Grievance” (Knapp, 79) comment on “Separation on the River Kiang” (Knapp, 80) comment on war poems: “Lament of the Frontier Guard,” “Song of the Bowmen of Shu” (Knapp, 81-82, 86) comment on “Taking Leave of a Friend” (Knapp, 83) comment on “Exile’s Letter,” by Li Po (Knapp, 82-84) comment on “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter” (Knapp, 84) comment on “The Unmoving Cloud,” by Tao Chien (Knapp, 84-85) comment on “The Beautiful Toilet” (Kenner, 193) comment on epigraph to “Four Poems of Departure” (Kenner, 200) comment on “Separation on the River Kiang” (Kenner, 204) This is ridiculous. Look at the index.

Imagist poems: comment on “In a Station of the Metro” (Kenner, 184) Wang Wei = Omakitsu Li Po = Rihaku T’ao Ch’ien = To-Em-Mei ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jewel Stairs’ Grievance  METONYM: From the minute, extrapolate the whole: Pound’s comments on “The Jewel Stairs’ Grievance”: “Jewel stairs, therefore a palace. Grievance, therefore there is something to complain of. Gauze stockings, therefore a court lady…” (Knapp, 79): suggestive images.  In a Station of the Metro
48

The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry, ed. Ezra Pound (1920; reprint San Francisco, n.d.), 21f

23

original typography of “In a Station of the Metro” (Kenner, 197): “five phases of perception.” concrete images, unconnected by verbs. “‘the Jewel Stairs’ Grievance’ is ‘especially prized because she offers no direct reproach,’ so Cathay essays an oriental obliquity of reference to what we are to understand as its true theme.” (202)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Appendix of poems: In a Station of the Metro The apparition of these faces Petals on a wet, black bough. in the crowd;

Jewel Stairs’ Grievance -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------misc: “the single line is the unit of composition; the Imagist principle, that a poem may build its effects out of things it sets before the mind’s eye by naming them; and the lyrical principle, that of words or names, being ordered in time, are bound together and recalled into each other’s presence by recurrent sounds.” (Kenner, 199) metonym: A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated, as in the use of Washington for the United States government or of the sword for military power. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Chinese “Lyric Criticism” in the Six Dynasties, Kang-i Sun Chang: CONNECTION BETWEEN INNER/OUTER, TIME/SPACE: “The basis of lyricism is the poet’s inner-directed private experience. By definition, private experience is nothing but a mental state experienced by an individual at a particular time and place [a snapshot].” (Chang, 215) METONYM, METAPHOR/EQUIVALENCE: how “symbolic language” of the “world of imagination” in poetry works: “if the self extends itself metonymically to embrace the outside world, then the creative process may be called, in Jakobson’s terminology, ‘contiguity.’ If, on the other hand, it results from a metaphorical transposition of self and object, then it may be viewed as one of ‘equivalence.’ In any case, this empathic union of personal feelings and the outside world is precisely what is meant by the traditional Chinese formula ch’ing-ching chiao-jung.” (Chang, 216) metonym: just like Pound’s comments on “Jewel Stairs’ Grievance”!! metaphor and equivalence: just as Pound equates the petals on the flower with the faces from the subway stop- he even uses the word “equation”!!! CONNECTION BETWEEN INNER/OUTER: “When Chuang Tzu said, ‘I know it by standing here beside the Hao,’ he was actually referring to a level of knowledge similar to that of the aesthetic experience in which the self merges empathetically into the world of external objects.” (Chang, 216) knowledge through subjective experience. IMAGE/VORTEX: “This tendency to dwell on the most essential qualities of objects is in keeping with an important device employed by Chinese lyric poets…- namely, the use of the simple image… The poetic value of the simple image lies in its power to evoke endless associations regarding the essential qualities of the object in question, despite its brevity in presentation.” Pound: image should be a vortex, with ideas flowing through it, out of it, and into it- the junction of multivarious feelings and ideas -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Lu Chi, “Essay on Literature” METONYMY, TIME/SPACE: “Eternity he sees in a twinkling / And the whole world he views in one glance.” (Lu, 206): minute contains all. no distinction between past and present, here and there. collapse of time and space. oneness of all things. METONYMY: “And all things [are contained] under the tip of his brush” (the “are contained” a correction made by Professor Chang in class, Lu, 207): minute containing all METONYMY, TIME/SPACE: “In a sheet of paper is contained the Infinite, / And, evolved from an inch-sized heart, an endless panorama.” collapse of space and time VORTEX/IMAGE: “The words, as they expand, become all-evocative”: the vortex!

24

PRECISION/DETAIL: “every detail in high and low relief he seeks to perfect… such precision must be wrought that it appeals to the heart as true” (Lu, 208) -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Liu Hsieh, “The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons” ONENESS, CONNECTION BETWEEN OUTER AND INNER: “when objects in the physical world change, our minds are also affected… All things exert influence on one another.” (Liu, 477) VORTEX/IMAGE: “the Ancient Poets operated on the principle of endless association of ideas. They lost themselves in the myriad of things completely absorbed in the visual and auditory sensations.” (Liu, 478-479) METONYMY: “and with ts’an-tz’u [describing the uneven lengths of water plants] and wo-jo [describing the glossiness of mulberry trees], each consisting of only two characters, the Ancient Poets have given us perfectly realistic descriptions of things. In all these expressions, they have used a part to sum up the whole.” (Liu, 479) -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Poetry of Wang Wei, Pauline Yu “underlying oneness of all things” and “sense of stasis and timelessness typical of the poet’s works” (Yu, 157) “verbless evocations of the landscape” (Yu, 159) NEED TO GET THE REST OF THIS BOOK SO I CAN LOOK AT POEM 95

CCL, Stacks PL2676 A6 1980 poem23: as if the sky were dawning for king and not the other way around whit pure- we expecty images of clouds

25