But it is good, as I say, to see that Pound's work is finally getting presented in a from that doesn't make one blush when assigning the book to class. I guess the first big step in the right direction was the 1990 reissue of Personae (ed. A. Walton Litz & Lea Bachler), which cleaned up the texts somewhat & added the 3 "ur-Cantos." Then New Directions issued, in 2003, a single-volume paperback of the Pisan Cantos; the poems themselves are simply offset from the big collected Cantos volume, but they have copious back-of-the-book annotations by Sieburth, who the same year published his massive Library of America version of Pound's Poems and Translations, which has become the industry standard for well-edited Pound.
I suspect New Directions' flurry of publishing activity this year might have something to do with the passing out of copyright of much of EP's early work, which opens the door to such projects as Ira Nadel's Penguin Early Writings, and even the Dover "Thrift Edition" of his Early Poems. At any rate, I haven't spent much time with the New Selected Poems and Translations, except to note that in replacing the dear old Selected Poems he's weeded out a number of the lame early poems & added a number of later Cantos; appendices include the original introduction by TS Eliot and a scrapped intro by John Berryman; and there are lashings of notes at the end, no doubt a welcome addition for Pound newbies and college students alike.
The new ABC of Reading, alas, is barely new at all. There are three additions: a well-turned introduction by Michael Dirda, an index of proper names (THANK YOU, NEW DIRECTIONS!), and an eye-popping magenta hue to the cover, replacing the dour old black. The text itself is still in the same gritty, spectacularly ugly typeface, with the ample margins indicating that this was a mass-market sized paperback blown up to trade size. And there's one loss: on page 9 of the old edition, there was a paragraph entitled simply "ABC"; that's been lost, replaced with a perfectly useless title page. For those who're coming to the ABC for the first time, here's what you've missed:
A B CA paragraph I realize that I know by heart, & whose implications I've tried to take to heart.
Or gradus ad Parnassum, for those who
might like to learn. The book is not
addressed to those who have arrived at full
knowledge of the subject without knowing