The Limits of Language

Into It


Lawrence Joseph

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $20, 67 pp.

The age demanded an image / Of its accelerated grimace, / Something for the modern stage, / not, at any rate, an attic grace.” These famed lines from Ezra Pound’s “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” (1919) suggest the tragic consequences of World War I-that “senseless slaughter,” as Ernest Hemingway called it. Pound’s challenge hinted at consequences for poets in particular, charting the difficult road that writers of lyric poems would be forced to...

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About the Author

Michael True, emeritus professor, Assumption College, is the author of An Energy Field More Intense Than War: The Nonviolent Tradition and American Literature (Syracuse University Press, 1995).