[MUSIC] Of course we cannot gain a full sense of American modernism's variety without moving away from New York. One clear masterpiece of American modernism, grounded in a collage aesthetic, is Ezra Pound's major lifetime project, The Cantos. Born in Idaho and raised in Pennsylvania, Pound would earn an MA in Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania. Teach briefly and then depart for Europe. But he remained interested in America for years and put himself in direct conflict with its country during World War II. The Cantos, a book length sequence of over a 116 poems written from 1915 to 1969, is unquestionably one of the most influential and most controversial documents of 20th century literature. The poems learning and system of unexplained references are immense. Like all passionate learning, it's periodically idiosyncratic. No one, save Pound himself, is likely to have ready to hand the reigns of classical references and the unconventional economic and cultural theories he cites. In some ways, he's the only person really fully qualified to read his poems. And unlike Melvin, Tolson, or Elliott, he published no notes with The Cantos. He pioneered what William Carlos Williams called radiant gist, brief illusions that are designed to invoke a whole historical and emotional context. Pound called The Cantos a poem containing history. And in that deceptively neutral if potentially grandiose formulation, and here's the poems great challenge. For it's history as Pound saw it, to some degree, it's also interestingly history as he participated in it. Albeit in a modest but unforgettable way. Some critics have tried to separate Pound's politics from his art, among them those who applauded his Bollingen Prize in 1949. But that's a difficult, or at least, deceptive thing to do. The poems are replete with Pound's enthusiasm for and defense of the nightmare of European fascism. Over 50 million people died in the second World War, and Pound believed the wrong side won. Moreover, when we looked over history, he decided that all of the arts were at their best when allied with absolute political power. He made such an alliance himself in Italy, and The Cantos repeatedly urges it on us as readers as one route to a new golden age. None of this makes his poems easier to deal with, but none of it makes it less critical to understanding modern culture or human temptation either. The relationship between poetry and power receives in The Cantos it's most compelling realization. As one of our country's most accomplished poets decides the century's most evil means served glorious ends. Initially contemptuous of Germany's dictator Adolf Hitler, Mussolini was Pound's contemporary hero. But Pound gradually became an admirer of the Nazis as well. And in a wartime radio broadcast from Rome, [COUGH] announced that in Mein Kampf, Hitler's antisemitic and megalomaniac manifesto, history is quote, keenly analyzed. In fact, Pound's racial theories found more reinforcement in Hitler than in Mussolini. Yet Pound's antisemitism was firmly in place early on. As early as his 1914 blast poem, Salutation the Third, Pound had written, Let us be done with Jews and Jobbery, Let us spit upon those who fawn upon the Jews for their money. Pound's decades long jeremiad against usery or money lending was also for him a denunciation of world Jewery. His 1941 to 43 radio broadcast from Italy, in those he rails against the Jews unceasingly against them and their fantasized allies. Quote, Jews, Jews-playfellows, and the bedfellow of Jews and of Jewesses. The danger to the United States as a system of government is not from Japan, but from Jewry. He sometimes called FDR Rosenfeld to suggest his fantasized dominance by Jewish interest. Encanto 73, published in Italian military journal in 45, Pound calls Roosevelt and Churchill bastards and small Jews. Despite this anguished history, The Canto's remains the primary model for an ambitious American poem based on collage, and literary and historical citation. It's also proven influential because its elaborate nix of rhetoric and musicality, and what is striking. And in some ways astonishing, is that poets at the opposite end of the spectrum from Pound, including Charles Olson and Robert Duncan, were deeply influenced by Pound's technique. They just used it for exactly the opposite political ends. So The Cantos are a richly conflicted text, at once lyrical and poemical, visionary and demonic, that well reward the investment, a considerable one, required to read them carefully.