"Poets do not become themselves all at once. They proceed crabwise, by small advances and reversals, and their gifts come into focus through the cryptic, piecemeal evolution described by Stephen Jay Gould as punctuated equilibrium. “The Seafarer” in 1911 was one kind of advance; “In a Station of the Metro,” finished the following year, another; but the subtle artistry in scenes of complaint and affection, of doubt and consequence in “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter,” “Song of the Bowmen of Shu,” “Lament of the Frontier Guard,” “Exile’s Letter,” and other poems in Cathay were a great leap toward the broad sweep of history, the clatter of different tongues, the painterly landscapes and spotlit details that marked his poetry ever after. Cathay showed how to let one world be penetrated by the literature of another, the driving mechanism behind The Cantos. The poet who emerged from the Chinese poems was not yet whole; but the Pound of 1910 and that of 1920 would hardly have recognized each other, and Cathay was largely responsible."
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor