Re-reading bits & pieces of LZ, & re-reading the MS of the LZ biography, as well as dipping back into The Cantos & Pound criticism, sets me thinking about the relationship of the 2 poets once again. Marjorie Perloff confided in me in Chicago a couple years back – as with all of Marjorie's confidences, this was very public & expansive – that she was convinced that Pound was after all the superior poet by far. As I always say, I don't do horse races – but there're times when I see her point. Very different poets. Much more sex, sensuality, drama in Pound; more rage, more exultation. A sense of giddy discovery thruout The Cantos, the continual feeling that EP is making it all up as he goes along, discovering something new in every book he reads ("a ball of fire in the reader's hands," as he describes engaged reading) & immediately dumping it into the poem.
LZ much more restrained, careful – phlegmatic, to Ez's choleric. The conceptual basics all stem from EP: 95% of LZ's critical vocabulary can be traced to EP; his very cultural vocabulary (except for Shax & Spinoza – whacking big exceptions) comes out of Pound. But there's an architecture to LZ that's missing in The Cantos, a precision of dovetailing & structuring; at the same time "A" is missing the grime, blood, & jizz of Pound's poem, & with it the exhilarating sense The Cantos give (at their best) of discovering shapes, forms, & correspondences. LZ sometimes gives one the impression of the craftsman filling in a form rather than the dancer improvising a movement. Tom Phillips v. Francis Bacon. Picabia v. Picasso.