Ezra Pound’s sense of himself as poet-pedagogue—including his insistent desire to reform American higher education—is inseparable from his literary avant-gardism and his commitment to the principle of “discovery” or “newness.” This connection between experimental poetics and pedagogy forms a central part both of Pound’s significance as a writer and of his influence on a later avant-gardist and didact like Charles Olson, and anticipates the complexities of the subsequent relationship between American poetic avant-gardes and the academy. Olson was both a teacher at and rector of Black Mountain College, and in an unlikely conjunction, the forms of his institutional life enter the forms of his avant-garde poetics in major poems like “The Praises.” At the same time, his work embodies a continuing conflict within avant-garde poetics that is central equally to him and Pound: the conflict between the (public) didactic impulse and the (private) impulse toward preservation of coterie.


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pp. 86-106
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