To Whistler, American

By Ezra Pound 1885–1972 Ezra Pound

On the loan exhibit of his paintings at the Tate Gallery.

You also, our first great,
Had tried all ways;
Tested and pried and worked in many fashions,
And this much gives me heart to play the game.

Here is a part that's slight, and part gone wrong,
And much of little moment, and some few
Perfect as Dürer!

"In the Studio" and these two portraits,* if I had my choice I
And then these sketches in the mood of Greece?

You had your searches, your uncertainties,
And this is good to know—for us, I mean,
Who bear the brunt of our America
And try to wrench her impulse into art.

You were not always sure, not always set
To hiding night or tuning "symphonies";
Had not one style from birth, but tried and pried
And stretched and tampered with the media.

You and Abe Lincoln from that mass of dolts
Show us there's chance at least of winning through.


* "Brown and Gold—de Race."
   "Grenat et Or—Le Pettt Cardinal."

Source: Poetry (October 1912).

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This poem originally appeared in the October 1912 issue of Poetry magazine

October 1912
 Ezra  Pound

Biography

Of all the major literary figures in the twentieth century, Ezra Pound has been one of the most controversial; he has also been one of modern poetry's most important contributors. In an introduction to the Literary Essays of Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot declared that Pound "is more responsible for the twentieth-century revolution in poetry than is any other individual." Four decades later, Donald Hall reaffirmed in remarks collected . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Painting & Sculpture, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Poetry & Poets

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Allusion, Ode

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