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The speaker (Pound, in this case) is trying to impart his own, personal worldviews on the readers.Remember earlier how we discussed Pound's disdain for American modernist poetry?
Pound describes the smiles he witnesses on fishermen picnicking, which one can infer would never been seen on the faces of arrogant men performing the same action.
These men Pound describes smile and laugh while doing mundane, everyday tasks, whereas the current, entitled generation worries more about worldly possessions, like clothes; Pound concludes his poem illustrating this exact remark through the image of happy fish frolicking about in the water naked.
He was a critic of the early modernist movement in American poetry, which was partially responsible for his desire to leave the country and settle in Europe.
Throughout his life in Europe, he became a huge proponent of Imagism, a more classical movement in poetry. The first time you read it, simply read it for the content.
An essay that speaks to the essence of Pound's disdain is titled 'A Retrospect.' Please read the following short excerpt from the essay and focus on Pound's writer's 'voice' and discussion of the importance of imagism. Richard Aldington and myself decided that we were agreed upon the three principles following: 1.
'A Retrospect' There has been so much scribbling about a new fashion in poetry, that I may perhaps be pardoned this brief recapitulation and retrospect. Direct treatment of the 'thing' whether subjective or objective 2.The smug people Pound is describing do not think or care about families; they only think of themselves.Therefore, Pound chose these two images to describe to the reader the importance of thinking of others and looking past just the surface.The Imagist movement focused on and favored concise language, unembellished imagery, and a strong connection between the verbal and lyrical qualities of verse and mood. The second time you read through the poem, try to determine what message the speaker is trying to convey.In 1945, while living in Italy, Pound was arrested for treason and extradited back to the United States where he remained until 1958 when he was freed and chose to return to his life in Italy. Also, focus on the use of imagery (remember this is an Imagist poem! 'Salutation' O generation of the thoroughly smug and thoroughly uncomfortable, I have seen the fishermen picnicking in the sun, I have seen them with untidy families I have seen their smiles full of teeth and heard ungainly laughter.Well, here in this poem, Pound is discussing his disdain for 'the thoroughly smug' people of the world; one can easily make the comparison between Pound's opinion of both smug people and American modernist poets.He discusses how the current generation is made up of self-righteous individuals who never once think of others.Before you began reading the poem, I asked you to also focus on Pound's use of imagism.We just discussed the image of the fish in the concluding two lines. Two key images Pound chose to include in this poem are 'untidy families' and 'smiles full of teeth.' These two images are used to describe the same larger idea of the fishermen, yet they are contradictory images. Designed for use by both literary critics and secondary and college teachers of English, this work would also be of value to undergraduate and graduate students of literature.In the lesson, we'll discuss a brief biography of the American poet, Ezra Pound.