Chiming in with Sarah…

To let you all know that I miss you. I was going through my pictures today and wanted to share this:

I hope you’re all having a great Dead Week, lovelies. I also hope that you are not doped up on allergy medication and prone to tearing up when seeing H.D. and Emily Dickinson books RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER at the library, like I totally did not do on Saturday.


Well- classes are over (duh!)  but somehow I still find myself checking this blog daily along with my email, facebook, news websites (ok mainly horse news but still…) Not sure if this means I am having trouble letting go or what… Anyhow if any of ya’ll see this it means you might have a problem too 😉 Enjoy dead week and I will see most of ya’ll at graduation! Love to all of EDHD I will miss you guys! – Sarah

The Concentric Circles of Meaning in Trilogy

If one looks at the Greek derivatives for Megalomania rather than the colloquial notion of the word, one can see that it essentially means “large madness”. In a sense the structuring of Trilogy mirrors a certain madness with its repetitions and the way that words have a tendency to turn on their meanings. At the end of “Tribute to the Angels” one can see the notion of “ the mother of god” is reinvented and revised in a manner that turns our notion of this religious figure on itself. H.D. writes, “ she is the counter-coin-side/of primitive terror;/she is not-fear, she is not-war,/but she is no symbolic figure”(570). In this passage H.D. is explicitly exploring the notion of reinventing. She begins her series of reinvention metaphors with more abstract concepts like “fear” and “terror” but interweaves more concrete things like the “counter-coin-side” which utilizes two words that imply reversal, “counter” and “side”. Finally H.D. delves into more explicit language when she writes, “She is no symbolic figure”. From these lines H.D. lets her reader see how she is turning the image in on itself, reinventing it by stripping it of the language that is usually used in its description.

Yet the language of the “symbolic image” is not the only aspect of the image that is altered. In H.D.’s reinvention of this image she delves deeper and strips the “mother of God” of her motherhood when she writes, “but the Lamb was not with her,/either as Bridegroom or Child”(571).  In this quotation the reader can note the concentric circling of H.D.’s reinvention. First she changes the language by which the reader relates to the image, then she delves deeper into the established imagery and removes the icon of the child from the image.  H.D. writes at the end of stanza 39, “the same-different-the same attributes./different yet the same as before”(571).  In this quotation one can see how H.D. is attempting to turn the meaning of these images in on themselves, so that they feel similar-yet are different because of her revision.

In the “The Flowering of the Rod” one sees again the echoing of this revised image of “mother of God”. When Mary is depicted at the very end of Trilogy holding a “bundle of myrrh” instead of the child. Additionally H.D. revises the notion of “mother” when she writes, “but Kaspar knew the seal of the jar was unbroken”. In this quotation  H.D. revises the idea of mother with virginal and Hymen imagery with the image of an unbroken jar. One can see through these gradual iconoclastic revisions to the image of “mother of God” that H.D. exhibits a gradual focusing on editing the way the reader views the image of this woman until it is similar-yet different, a version of itself that has been inverted and changed to the point that the very meaning of the image has changed.

CC Assignment A: Fluctuations of Identity and Reinvention in Text

As Barbra Guest repeatedly notes in Herself Defined: H.D. and Her World, H.D. was a woman whose identity is repeatedly tangled with the identities of the people who surrounded her, to name a few Richard Aldington, Bryher, and Ezra Pound. Yet Guest gives the most weight in her discussion of H.D.’s identity to the poet’s relationship with Pound.  In Discussing the poet’s withdrawal from Bryn Mawr in 1906 Guest writes, “ the truth was that she was facing duel worlds: an authoritarian institute of learning, and an equally authoritarian poet. It was either Ezra Pound or Bryn Mawr”(5). Guest goes on to note that Pound served as a sort of director of the young H.D. and assisted her in crafting her identity, even naming her. Pound served as an intellectual liaison for the young poet, he brought her into the burgeoning world of what would become known as the Imagist movement (22-30).

In establishing H.D. as a woman who sees her identity as connected with Pound, Guest sets up a precedence for conflating H.D.’s sense of self with others. While I do not agree with the representation of H.D. as a genius that was so fraught with instability that she constantly needed a caretaker there is substantial textual evidence that suggests that H.D’s sense of self was very unstable at times, and one sees the poet retreat into her relationships, perhaps in search of a way to “define herself”. Guest writes that during H.D.’s stay in London that the poet was content to be known as the companion of, “the leading poet in London”(32).

Perhaps one of the most interesting, and most real, crisis of identity that H.D. experienced was after the suicide of Margaret Cravens. In London Ezra Pound was introduced to a woman by the name of Dorothy Shakespear who was well connected with the contemporary literary circles. Shakespear’s mother was in fact the person who first introduced Ezra Pound to Yeats, who in turn began to encourage the relationship between Pound and Shakespear. The two eventually married. H.D. took the news as a sort of abandonment. Pound’s  abandonment of Imagism in his writing only furthered H.D.’s sense of loss(64).

Yet H.D. was not the only woman who took the news of Ezra Pound’s marriage to Shakespear, harshly. A young woman by the name of Margaret Cravens was on love with the intellectual poet and committed suicide after hearing the news of Pound’s engagement. This suicide forced H.D. to confront an identity that seemed to mirror her own. Guest writes, “The Margaret Cravens incident assumed all sorts of proportions for Hilda, who almost believed that she herself might have been the one to commit suicide…she had been “dropped by Pound…she identified with Margaret, who had appeared to live the kind of life Hilda would wish for herself (49).  This conflation of the self that Guest seems to circulate around in her biography of H.D is evidenced many times in her writing, however the majority of the time the focus is placed on the more unstable representations of self that H.D. crafts, Hermione is a perfect example. Hermione’s sense of self is constantly in state of flux, with the repetition of the word “Her” , H.D. crafts a persona that is partially unrealized. The fact that the preferred abbreviation of her heroine’s identity is easily confused with a pronoun is indicative of this incomplete and unstable sense of self. Yet these “unstable” representations are often favored over more stable and even playful versions of the self that H.D. presents in her poetry. For example H.D. writes in “Heliodora”, “We strove for a name,/while the light of the lamps burnt thin/and the outer dawn came in”(Martz 151). In this quotation the poet and an unnamed other male figure are searching for a name, and together they seek to create an identity for a girl. Yet there is something self assured in Heliodora despite the search for identity. H.D. writes, “and the phrase was just as good,/though not as good as mine”(151). The notion of a self assured speaker is rarely referenced in Guest’s discussion of H.D.’s identity, yet one can see from this quotation that while the instability of self an identity is present, the speaker also is aware of her own talents and abilities. When one considers the title of the poem, “Heliodora” the beginning of the two segments of the name are the initials H.D. One can see a certain playfulness in this poetic identity. H.D. was punning her own name, yet another aspect of the instability of H.D.’s identity that is often ignored in favor of a more “darling lunatic” approach to the author’s biography.

Guest notes that one of H.D.’s major contributions to the Imagist movement is her reinvention and retellings of myth. Yet I would assert that the success of these retellings would not have been as great, had H.D. not possessed such a flexible sense of self. Through her biography one can see that while H.D. struggled with identity, the caveat to this struggle is more fully re-imagined first person re-tellings of myth that reinvent and give voice to characters that did not originally have voices.


Shall we share tired stories to add to Sarah D’s?  I just carried Guido’s paper into my kitchen to plug into my phone charger.

Pressed Flowers

I was inspired by ED to press the flowers I received on Valentine’s Day, and here they are! Some definitely turned out better than the others, but I plan to continue pressing all of the meaningful flowers that pass me by in the future. I even have an iris from my front yard (of my first house!) that I plan to add to this collection. If you want to do your own, the steps are very easy and you can collect them all in an herbarium (or scrap-book) just like Emily!


Anybody else really wishing we had t-shirts right now/feeling really nostalgic about this class already/preparing to bawl our eyes out after presenting tomorrow? Good.

So here’s what I’m thinking: maybe we could all write down our forwarding addresses and we could still order the shirts, and have them forwarded to us? We could all send a check/money to her after we knew the cost of everything… I know I’m sort of speaking for everybody right now and I don’t want to do that. So what do you all think? Can we make this happen or not? I’m gonna miss you all. 🙁

Haven’t you ever said to yourself “Self, I want more of that delightful Ezra Pound, but I don’t want to have to read any of his poetry with those pretentious passages in ancient Greece. And I would like it to be funny. And to not actually be written by Ezra Pound at all.” Well, I have the solution for you! From McSweeney’s and Greg Purcell, I bring you

The Ten Worst Films of All Time, As Reviewed by Ezra Pound Over Italian Radio

Bambi: Filth.

Casablanca: This  movie is filth.

Cat People: A race may civilize itself by language, not film. Cat People is filth.

Gentlemen Jim: Tot he Animals who made this usurious film: god damn you.

The Magnificent Andersons: This movie is indistinguishable from the filth-rustlings of swine in a sty.

The Man Who Came to Dinner: May you choke on it, bacilli.

Yankee Doodle Dandy: I sort of liked James Cagney’s filthy Irish energy in this one.

The Palm Beach Story: Bless: The Italian Dolcestilnovisti, the “sweet new style” current in the time of the papish Guelps and the imperial Ghibellines. One will particularly take heed of its foremost practitioner, Guido Cavalcanti. Blast: Preston Sturges and the Jewish moneylenders who helped him to makes this film.

Now, Voyager: Two boils for the director’s infected liver.

This Gun for Hire: This film reeks of syphilis. Filth.

(HERmione and Asphodel don’t really get into Ezra Pound’s more controversial opinions, but from what we’ve read, this seems to be on track. All it needs to be perfect is for him to refer to a woman as “it” at some point)


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executive decision II; or, feminist executive undermined as usual

The room we want in the mansion is being used by some saucy bastard until 4:45.  SO: we will meet at 3:30 in our seminar room, Combs 112.  We will begin presentations there, perhaps with those who definitely want projection in case the stuff in the mansion is tricky.  At about 5, we will move to the mansion, room 28.  There we will begin the real feasting and continue the presentations.


By the way, if you borrowed books or other materials from me, kindly return them by Thursday also.