Reading The Cantos
I like reading Pound’s Cantos without worrying about knowing the facts behind the narrative. I try to convince myself the story he is telling is less important than the images and sounds the verse evokes. It’s hard for a reader to behave this way. What occurs when I read the cantos in this manner? I’m confronted with a significant tension between my desire to interpret meaning for myself and a sense that I’m supposed to know what Pound’s writing about. The former is concerned with the verse and permits me to actively listen the latter with my oppressive education that taught me that to understand a text I must know what the author knows. The former permits me to focus on the poetry and possibly the poetics, if I choose to, while the latter requires me to leave the poetry behind for other literary objects and other authority.
I try to teach myself to disobey the other authority and to remain faithful to the poetry.
I think the story Pound tells and the authority it insists I seek can be referred to as the fiction in the verse. It requires a different kind of reading than poetry asks for.