Wednesday, November 24, 2004

for ez
this image is copyrighted. do not reproduce without permission.

for ez is one of the first images i ever illustrated (ez = ezra pound, the greatest american poet ever, regardless of how whacked and odd he was, and in spite of his virulent and asinine anti-semitism). i managed to keep the original version in some format in the final version, as it runs down the center of the poem separating the 2 covers of the open book. in recasting the image, it struck me how pound's closing cantos -- while by no means reparative-- were redemptive. not one to admit being wrong, not one to ask for help, not one to ever suggest hurt or loneliness, and yet comes the phrase “let the gods forgive…/let those I love try to forgive…” and yet, even in the defeat brought on by his own hubris, pound remains so, so cranky.

the image that is the entirety of my saturday flower from the week in flowers is a five-character chinese ideogram, as brought to us by ernest fenellossa. pound is to have seen this ideogrammatic statement and was able to translate it on the spot, without having ever studied chinese in his life. it could be that it was another ideogrammatic passage or ideogram, but that is not really the point. there was an incident where pound was able to translate without having studied and it might as well have been this one. once i had finished the saturday flower i realized that the image was perfect for the illustration of for ez. in 1991, i spent an entire afternoon on san michele, the island cemetery off venice, italy. it is not lost on me that pound was buried on an island. his grave is simple and dignified, a bit unkempt and very still. the echo of for ez in the background of the image is in memory of that afternoon and i hope the image pays my due respect to my poetic mentor.

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