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Out of the «Western Box»

Towards a Multicultural Poetics in the Poetry of Ezra Pound and Charles Olson

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Joon-Hwan Kim

This book focuses on two twentieth-century American epic poets – Ezra Pound (1885-1972) and Charles Olson (1910-1970) – in the context of multiculturalism. Pound deployed the cultural resources of the Other to deflect Western imperialism’s absolutizing of the self and opened new poetic and cultural spaces beyond T. S. Eliot’s closed Anglo-American tradition. However, he fell short of discarding modernist Enlightenment epistemology reifying the Other. Olson followed in the tradition of Pound’s open poetics but rejected his Eurocentrism. By deconstructing Pound’s epistemology, Olson forged a postmodernist and postimperial multicultural perspective that reconfigured Otherness through an unmediated, self-decentered discourse.