Tradition and Innovation in Ezra Pound's Modernist Circle

deadline for submissions: 
September 28, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Jeff Grieneisen / Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Ezra Pound’s role in modernism is undeniable, but his connections to Philadelphia may be less obvious and are worthy of exploration. He spent his formative years in this “birthplace of America,” where his father worked at the U.S. Mint. Among the many artists he befriended in Philadelphia were fellow poets who would become modernists: Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), Marianne Moore, and William Carlos Williams. Pound’s relationship with Philadelphia institution University of Pennsylvania is a tumultuous one. Having earned his master’s degree, he was “pushed out” of the program, and his efforts to get a PhD were denied by the university, including many recent efforts to award him a posthumous PhD. This remains another source of controversy in Pound studies. This panel seeks papers that trace any aspect of the Philadelphia modernist circle, especially but not necessarily as relates to Pound’s influence. Papers might explore the larger role of imagism among these poets, the effect that Philadelphia as a geographic or political landscape had on Pound, H.D., Moore, and/or Williams, the literary influence of Pound on these other Philadelphia poets, or Pound’s references to Philadelphia’s history and historical figures. Papers might also explore the relationship between Pound’s economic theories and his father’s work at the Philadelphia Mint, or the conference theme of “tradition and innovation” as it applies to one or more Philadelphia modernist poets.

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