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WINTER 2018-2019


Cliff Bleidner


Critiquing a critique of a critique
that’s what I realized Ezra Pound was doing
with one of his critiques.

Why would anyone critique a critique
of a critique?
Wouldn’t he have to out of his mind?
To waste his poetical and critical expertise
like this, not Ezra, quote
               “Trust no critic that has not produced
               quality work on his own.”
Was he being serious or facetious?
Hard to tell for example
               “Oh hang it all, Robert Browning
               there can be but one Sordello.”
He was always writing crazy things like that,
like publishing a paper presenting a case
that Chaucer was better than Shakespeare.
It rained refutations for decades
oh he loved stirring things up.
How did he answer them?  With a paper
that Cavalcanti was better than Danté.
               “Oh hang it all, Ezra Pound
               there can be but one Danté.”

There was no Divine Comedy possible
for Pound to write, not in this age.
When most people don’t believe in a heaven
like that anymore and many insist that
we are already in hell and don’t know it.
The Cantos, as brilliant as they were
failed, they had to fail.

Oh but such great writing in this
critiquing a critique of a critique.
not poetry
but so carefully balanced
amazing artistry
and wordplay
so beautiful and
very readable
over and over
like a thousand angels dancing
on the head of a pin
and no way to cut in
               “Oh hang it all Cliff Bleidner
               there can be but one Bashō.”





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