Friday, July 7, 2017

Love’s Radio-Active Fall-Out: Radical Imagery in Donald Davie’s “Rejoinder to a Critic”

Derek Mahon, in a 2002 article for The Dublin Review, vividly describes Movement poet Donald Davie’s 1957 work “Rejoinder to a Critic” as

a poem notable for strict form, argumentativeness, direct quotations from Coleridge and Donne, self-deprecating irony and an almost complete absence of imagery—except for the atomic mushroom cloud, a picture presented with the clinical detachment of a physicist in a lecture room [...]. (Mahon)

And indeed, the image constructed by Davie, of “Love’s radio-active fall-out on a large/ Expanse around the point it bursts above” (Davie, “Rejoinder” 65), is a shrill, singularly radical one. Although it is not the only image in the poem, as Mahon implies, it is nonetheless unique in its intensity, even without the enhancement and reinforcement it receives in the poem’s remaining lines, and thus constitutes a rewarding subject of analysis.

If Davie, now, is to be regarded as a physicist in a lecture room, as Mahon suggests, it must follow that his ulterior motive for including such an image is to demonstrate something—and to do so with a didactic intent, no less—to his audience. With this in mind, the following chapters will show, first up, that “Rejoinder to a Critic”  represents a demonstration of the effects of radical imagery in poetry; and second, it will illustrate why, as Stephen Regan puts it, the poem passes muster as a piece “of versified literary criticism” (Regan 213). In the process of doing so, poetic principles of the Imagist and Movement poets, as well as Davie’s own critical works, will be drawn upon as points of reference and comparison where appropriate.


Effects on Form

“Rejoinder to a Critic,” as the poem’s title suggests, ostensibly represents an argumentative response to an inexplicit critic, as delivered by a first-person narrator.

A formal analysis of the poem reveals nothing particularly remarkable or unusual, at first glance. There are three stanzas with six verses each, and with each stanza displaying a cross-rhyme following the abacbc scheme. Each verse consists of an iambic pentameter, which runs through the poem unbroken and without the merest hint of an irregularity. On the contrary, one could almost say that, in sharp contrast to the image at its center, “Rejoinder to a Critic” is, as far as its meter and rhyme scheme are concerned, a poem of mind-numbing regularity.

This is not without purpose. Rather, very much in the manner of a physicist like the one described by Mahon, it appears that Davie is using the poem’s external structure to create the ideal environment for his impending experiment.

“Ideal,” in this case, meaning two things. On the one hand, the environment has to be as conducive to the poem’s purpose as possible: It has to be a means of arriving at the maximum effect of the image, by way of providing an appropriate contrast to the spectacular nature of the image; which is to say, it needs to be suitably unconspicuous. At the same time, this environment needs to be in line with the prevailing sentiments expressed in the poem, such as, most notably, its feeling—or rather non-feeling—of “numbness.”  A meter and rhyme scheme in the manner identified in the previous paragraph fulfill both of these requirements to the fullest.

As the poem progresses, however, two distinctive phonological features turn up. They appear in the fifth and sixth lines of the second stanza, just when the image in question is introduced. The first one is rather subtle; it is the imperfect rhyme between “collage,” from the second verse of the same stanza, and “large,” in line five. This is appropriate, as it emphasizes the poem’s “contamination” with “love’s radio-active fall-out.”  The German term for this type of feature—unreiner Reim: an “impure” or even “dirty” rhyme—inadvertently comes to mind, given that atomic bombs are sometimes referred to as “dirty bombs.”

The second feature consists in a series of four plosive sounds: “Expanse around the point it bursts above” (emphasis added). Considering that the subject matter of the line is an atomic explosion, again, the use of a sequence of plosives seems strikingly appropriate here, each of them and all together doing their part to conjure up the image of an atomic chain-reaction in the reader’s mind.

This same feature reappears twice as the poem progresses, first in the second line of the final stanza: “Half Japan!” (emphasis added); and then again in the fourth, where it further increases the already remarkably flashy onomatopoetic quality of the sudden “Be dumb!” (emphasis added). The resulting phonological—and, to an extent, even visual—effect of that line is, one almost wants to say, evocative of the sound effects popularized in comics (cf. Covey).

The impression it gives is that of a speaker cruelly cut off in mid-utterance by a powerful, all-consuming explosion. With these features, Davie certainly makes the most of his image, mining it for the largest possible dramatic effect.

The speaker’s tone, meanwhile, repeatedly shifts within the poem. At first, a clinical and matter-of-factly tone prevails. Then, after the introduction of the image of the atomic bomb, the language becomes increasingly emotive in the third and final stanza. Finally, in the sixth verse of the third stanza, it changes again, invoking an air of resignation and, as it is, numbness.

Despite the ostensibly very personal subject which is being discussed—the speaker’s own alleged lack of feeling!—the poem remains remarkably impersonal throughout all these shifts. Not even the outbursts of emotive language in the final stanza, in the shape of rhetorical questions and exclamations (which will be discussed in greater detail below), manage to make the first-person speaker seem genuinely emotional or involved in the things he or she is saying. Instead, they just seem cynical, resigned or, at best, detached.

Indeed, as we learn, the speaker is submitting to numbness by choice rather than because he is helplessly suffering from it (see chapter two). What we are left with, paradoxically at first glance, is a poem which purports to be dealing with the question of feelings, and which contains some highly emotive language, even, but which nonetheless seems utterly impersonal throughout.

The cause of this effect, incidentally, can be tracked to the text’s central image of “love’s radio-active fall-out,” as a 1960 essay by Davie serves to show. Discussing the work of poet Robert Graves, Davie here differentiates between symbolic images and emblematic images:

One can define the difference by saying that the symbol casts a shadow, where the emblem doesn’t; the symbol aims to be suggestive, the emblem to be, even in its guise as riddle, ultimately explicit. Another difference might be that the emblem is made, fabricated, where the symbol is found; or rather, since it seems plain that both ‘making’ and ‘finding’ are involved in any act of imagination, let us say that the symbol aims to give the effect of having been discovered, where the emblem aims at the effect of having been constructed. (Davie, “Impersonal” 77)

The image presented in “Rejoinder to a Critic” most definitely does not “cast a shadow,” as Davie puts it; it is blinding. Davie’s criteria for emblematic images all appear to be fulfilled by the central image of “Rejoinder to a Critic”: the image of an atomic explosion is thoroughly explicit, even, as in this case, “in its guise as a riddle” (see chapter two for a closer semantic inspection of the image); and in combination with, and in reference to, the concept of “love,” it can also be said that the resulting image is one which “aims at the effect of having been constructed.”

Poems which include such emblematic images, according to Davie, “are impersonal in effect, even when they are on very personal themes. And it is the emblematic style which brings this about, whether the poet intended it or not” (79). Whether Davie intended this effect when he composed “Rejoinder to a Critic” several years earlier, we cannot tell, but the “distancing de-personalizing effect of the emblems” (80) he identifies might certainly serve as an explanation for the poem’s impersonal spirit and, in the end, perhaps also for the numbness chosen by its speaker.

In terms of morphology and syntax, an even more differentiated picture emerges. The first two stanzas are made up of long, syntactically sound and elaborate declarative sentences, whereas the last stanza is characterized by a quick succession of short rhetorical questions and exclamations, at one point even suffering a total syntactical breakdown.

The language, simultaneously, changes from cognitive to emotive, from calm and descriptive to frantic and prescriptive. This breathless, emotive quality is strengthened by the repetition of the citation from John Donne’s poem “The Canonization,” “who’s injur’d by my love?” (Donne 74), in the first line of the final stanza, and by a personification in the shape of “recent history answers” in the second one. Neither dramatic repetitions nor personifications are among the hallmarks of a sober discourse. If the first two stanzas recall the equanimous, scientific tone of a physicist, the last one’s frenetic pace is more reminiscent of an alarmist preaching doomsday from a soapbox at a street corner. Where the former intents to explain and enlighten his line of thought, the latter is attempting to shock his audience into submission.

Searching for the dividing line between the two radically different personae, one once again hits upon verses five and six of the second stanza, with their image of an atomic explosion.

Those two lines themselves, meanwhile, can be said to be in a transitional state between correct and dislocated syntax.

For even where the forms of prose syntax are retained, it does not follow that the syntax is prose syntax; for concepts may be related in formally correct syntax when the relationship between them is not really syntactical at all, but musical, when words and phrases are notes in a melody, not terms in an ordered statement. (Davie, Purity 96)

The phenomenon described by Davie is precisely the one which applies to the last two lines of the second stanza—although they appear to display a formally correct syntax, strictly speaking, they certainly are more musical than they are an ordered statement. Given the metaphorical nature of the presented image (“love’s radio-active fall-out”) and the discussed phonological features, the syntax of those two lines is plainly not what Davie considers to be prose syntax.

The poem’s change of pace finds its culmination in an aposiopesis in verse four of the second stanza, where a sentence is aborted altogether: “The ‘feeling’ that you dare me to... Be dumb!”  This constitutes what Davie calls a dislocation of syntax (cf. 92ff.), and it is caused by the imperative, which, as discussed above, is doubling as  onomatopoetic effect.

Indeed, this breakdown of sentence structure can be considered the “hypocenter” of the formal disruption, perhaps representing the “explosion” preceding the “mushroom cloud” and “fallout” described earlier in the poem. It is, in other words, “the point it [love] bursts above.”

When the speaker’s detached rant finally grinds to a complete halt in mid-sentence, this may be what Davie has in mind when he writes about “broken phrases, half-uttered exclamations [...], [...] speech atomized, all syllogistic and syntactical forms broken down” (99). What, after all, could be capable of “atomizing speech,” if not the onomatopoetic explosion of an atomic bomb?


Effects on Meaning

At the beginning of the poem, the first-person speaker offers a cogent argumentation and a reasonably lucid line of thought, acknowledging that the addressed critic may have a point in alleging an absence of feeling in the speaker.

Quoting Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Dejection: An Ode” in a passage displaying reflection and humility, the speaker then outlines his own approach to things, which is evidently characterized by reason and empiricism. Donne, the speaker argues in the second stanza after a mildly self-deprecating comment, could well afford to love, because he, in his time, never had to deal with... well, what, exactly? In the space of two lines, and without warning, the poem’s cogent, argumentative lucidity is suddenly disintegrated, its meaning rendered obscure.

What, now, is “Love’s radio-active fall-out on a large/ Expanse around the point it bursts above”? Quite abruptly, the audience is required to shift gears in its reading of the poem, in order to keep following the speaker—if following them is indeed still possible. All of a sudden, the poem’s stylistic and semantic goalposts have been moved: It is no longer linearly structured argumentative reasoning one is faced with, but a lurid and violent image that cannot be fully grasped in merely literal terms.

The images it conjures, at this stage, are those of bright flashes of light, gigantic mushroom clouds, contaminated wastelands. And the reaction it invites shifts from that of scientific interest to one of shock and horror, accompanied by a general sense of dread, death and destruction. Why is love “radio-active”? How does it “burst”? What is the “large expanse” contaminated by its “fall-out”? Does love really equal hate? How did “feelings” “injure” “half Japan”? These are the questions the reader now has to grapple with, and this constitutes quite a departure from the first half of the poem, where the speaker practically led his audience through the meaning of the verses by hand. It is as if Davie, by introducing a type of image which is historically, intellectually and emotionally loaded to the extreme, is attempting to shock and awe the reader into an instantaneous and horrible comprehension.

Despite the immediate, inherent force of the presented image, its meaning nonetheless remains utterly obscure. How the speaker starts with “love” and arrives at an atomic explosion, the reader can only speculate. Part of the reason for this is that the metaphor employed by Davie does not lend itself to a typical transfer of meaning. Instead of a dominant concept and a subordinate one used to shed light on it, what we end up with here are two competing, equally strong concepts colliding in an utmost spectacular fashion. Instead of illuminating the established topic, the atomic bomb metaphor effectively replaces it. Before the image presented in the last two lines of the second stanza, the poem is an explanation of the speaker’s approach to “feelings.” Subsequent to the image and the clash of concepts it represents, however, the poem has, so it appears, been hijacked by the speaker’s reaction to the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki through atomic explosions, and by his desire to use this destruction as a means of proving a point to the audience.

It is quite possible to construct a semantic connection and guess at the speaker’s meaning, certainly. One might presume, for instance, that he supposes it was the Americans’ good intentions which led to the deployment of the atomic bomb, because they may have reckoned that, despite all its cruel implications, it was the quickest and most effective way to end the Second World War and prevent even greater loss of life in 1945. And that, at the same time, this decision made out of good intentions—out of “love” for humanity one might reluctantly suggest—was indirectly necessitated by the Nazis’ hatred, which had, after all, started the war.

In another, more pictorial poem, this sort of interpretative effort might not have seemed out of place. By the ground rules established through the linear step-by-step argument presented earlier in “Rejoinder to a Critic,” though, the image leaves a gigantic semantic gap to be bridged by the audience, and it comes at a thoroughly unexpected moment. If this gap is to be bridged at all, such an effort will take time, however; so it would appear, tragically, that the image chosen by the speaker is not exactly the most effective one, from a didactic point of view.

The degree of ambiguity introduced by the image is also reflected in the fourth line of the final stanza: “Be dumb!” may be a call to be silent and speak no more, in the sense that it rudely interrupts the previous sentence. But it may just as well be a call to be stupid. First and foremost, in the light of the final line, the stupidity—or numbness, as it is—it calls for appears to be of an emotional kind.

Upon closer inspection, the more general and widespread meaning of intellectual stupidity can also apply. After all, both the complicated physics involved in the production of an atomic bomb and the complexity of the “love”/“radio-active fall-out” image at hand suggest that a certain degree of intellectual sophistication must have been involved in their making.

This point of view seems to be supported by Ezra Pound’s early Imagist theory, which postulates that “an ‘Image’ is that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time” (Pound, “Don’ts” 4). The qualities of the Movement poets Donald Davie belonged to, on the other hand, as formulated by Robert Conquest in his Introduction to the 1954 anthology New Lines, include their freedom “from both mystical and logical compulsions” (Conquest xv; emphasis added). In other words, the Movement poets were as opposed to overly intellectual poetry as they were to indulging in emotions.

A bitingly cynical, almost perverse picture emerges if one views the image presented in “Rejoinder to a Critic” through the lens of Pound’s further, glorifying description of imagery in the Imagist spirit.

It is the presentation of such a ‘complex’ instantaneously which gives that sense of sudden liberation; that sense of freedom from time limits and space limits; that sense of sudden growth, which we experience in the presence of the greatest works of art. (Pound, “Don’ts” 4)

Indeed, this Poundian “complex”—what Richard Ruland and Malcolm Bradbury describe as an “immediate release of poetic energy” or as “language’s own combinative and kinetic powers” (Ruland 261)—is precisely what appears to be taken to its extreme in the poem. The terminology used, for example, is reminiscent of the terminology used in natural science. The terms “critical” or “kinetic,” or the ideas of a “sudden growth” or of “releasing energy,” incidentally, belong at least as much to the field of nuclear physics as they do to literary studies. Thus, what Davie is doing, perhaps, is to simply take Pound’s Imagist idea of the image and, to stick with the kind of terminology used by Pound, let it hit “critical mass” in his poem, to explore—and to demonstrate—what happens.

As an aside, one may perhaps even suspect a play on words in the title of the poem, as a matter of fact: The nuclear bombs dropped on Japan were fission bombs; by writing a “rejoinder,” perhaps Davie hoped to literally “re-join” the atom, so as to prevent further destruction.

After the poem’s start as a lucid, reflected piece of straightforward argumentation, it virtually shatters at the end of the second stanza. Once again, the image of the atomic bomb creates a wide rupture, contaminating the poem’s meaning, one might say, with its “radio-active fall-out.”


Sociopolitical Implications

“Syntax, measure and a logic of statement were, in the Movement poem, almost an act of postwar reconstruction,” writes Neil Corcoran. “To build the decorous shape of the poem was to provide a defence against barbarism” (Corcoran 83). Indeed, Donald Davie himself, in his 1952 book Purity of Diction in English Verse, supposes a causal relation between syntax in poetry and human conduct. “Changes in linguistic habit are related to changes in man’s outlook,” he writes,

and hence, eventually, to changes in human conduct. Language does not merely reflect such changes; a change in language my precede the other changes, and even help to bring them about. To abandon syntax in poetry is not to start or indulge a literary fashion; it is to throw away a traditional central to human thought and conduct, as to human speech. (Davie, Purity 97f.)

He goes even farther:

[T]he development from imagism in poetry to fascism in politics is clear and unbroken. [...] [I]t is impossible not to trace a connection between the laws of syntax and the laws of society, between bodies of usage in speech and in social life, between tearing a word from its context and choosing a leader out of the ruck. One could almost say, on this showing, that to dislocate syntax in poetry is to threaten the rule of law in the civilized community. (99)

These comments of Davie’s are already fairly radical in their own right, and they certainly give ample reason to suspect that the use of the atomic bomb as the poem’s central image was no coincidence. After all, the destruction of Nagasaki and Hiroshima—in itself, certainly, but also as, effectively, the end of the Second World War—can be considered one of the darkest and most defining events of the twentieth century. From there, it is not a huge leap to Davie’s “leader out of the ruck,” particularly given his comments on Pound’s reference to Mussolini (cf. 99f.), and, by extension, to Corcoran’s “barbarism.” Viewing “Rejoinder to a Critic” as Davie’s way of playing out a type of worst-case scenario of his own literary criticism, consequently, does not seem all too far-fetched.

Conveniently, all that is required to do so, as it turns out, is to consider the poem in its most literal sense. It is a “Rejoinder to a Critic” by a poet: the sincere, frank defense of a speaker—and the sin of equating the speaker with the author may be forgiven here, for practical purposes—who is genuinely convinced that poetry which indulges with abandon in emotions and intellect can ultimately contribute to, if not cause, such events as the selection of a “leader out of the ruck,” the Second World War, detonations of atomic bombs in Japan and, ultimately, “barbarism.”

The radical image, in this case, is an image which stands, quite simply and in the Imagist tradition, for the notion of radical imagery itself.

In other words, Davie’s own literary criticism provides, in a manner of speaking, the missing piece of the puzzle, as far as the interpretation of the poem is concerned; it allows “Rejoinder to a Critic” to come full circle in a way which is otherwise impossible. Viewed in isolation, the literal meaning of the poem will always feature a very large gap to be traversed by the audience. In the very specific context of Davie’s criticism, however, a concrete and very literal message emerges: Overindulgence in emotion, as manifest in radical imagery, leads to ruin.

Which, in turn, would mean that “Rejoinder to a Critic” qualifies as a willfully obscure poem that can only be understood in its wholeness by those aware of the “code” provided by Davie’s criticism. But this, too, may be regarded as part of the demonstration, for, as Davie writes,

one cannot avoid the fact that the poet’s churches are empty, and the strong suspicion that dislocation of syntax has much to do with it. After all, there is no denying that modern poetry is obscure and that it would be less so if the poets adhered to the syntax of prose. (97)

Thus, it seems exceedingly unlikely that the poem’s obscurity, which appears to be diametrically opposed to Davie’s views on poetry, is a blunder on Davie’s part, precisely because it opposes his views so rigorously and wholesomely. Rather, the impression resulting from this and the two previous chapters, ultimately, is that Davie wrote “Rejoinder to a Critic” to prove a point: That radical images in poetry, as proposed by Pound in his Imagist phase, are a destructive force which should be avoided. And in order to do so, Davie composed a poem that breaks his own guidelines as thoroughly and as spectacularly as possible.


Subtle Imagery as a Counterpoint

The poem’s radical central image of the atomic bomb and its effects have at length been discussed in the previous chapters. However, there is a second, much more subtle image in “Rejoinder to a Critic” which has not yet been addressed: In lines three and four of the first stanza, the speaker quotes a couple of verses from Coleridge’s poem “Dejection: An Ode”: “And haply by abstruse research to steal/ From my own nature all the natural man” (Coleridge 282).

The notion of “haply stealing, by abstruse research, from one’s own nature all the natural man” is, quite ironically, an image for empiricism—one of the central qualities attached to Movement poetry, which is said to be “empirical in its attitude to all that comes” (Conquest xv). To trust his own senses, his own mind and his own experience, the image says, is all that the speaker can do.

At this point, it is instructive to look at Ezra Pound, Hilda Doolittle and Richard Aldington’s three principles of Imagism, as first published in 1913 and slightly modified by Pound in 1918:

1. Direct treatment of the ‘thing’ whether subjective or objective.
2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.
3. As regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome. (Pound, “A Retrospect” 3)

Jacob Korg, for better illustration, supplies an interpretation of these principles:

The first of the three rules is generally understood to encourage a reliance on concrete imagery presented without rhetoric or comment, although its inclusion of the ‘subjective’ seems to allow for the expression of feelings. The second, perhaps the most influential of the Imagist doctrines, enjoined a rigorous economy of language. And the third seems directed towards freeing poetry from standard meters and encouraging the use of vers libre. (Korg 131)

Now, if one holds up the image represented by the Coleridge citation in “Rejoinder to a Critic” against these principles, the two lines appear to contradict every single one of the three principles: First up, the image is not direct; not only is “abstruse research” in “my own nature” required to arrive at the desired effect, but the image is also expanded and commented upon in subsequent lines. Second, similarly, the language is not very economic at all; you could cut several words (i.e., “haply by abstruse research,” “own,” “all”) from the two lines without affecting the basic image. Finally, and obviously, the two lines are not presented in vers libre, either, but adhere to conventional standards of prose syntax—if not entirely so at the time “Rejoinder to a Critic” was written, then at least in Coleridge’s time. Consequently, the image at hand here, unlike the text’s other, brighter, more spectacular image, is emphatically not an image in the Imagist tradition.

What this underlines in the context of the poem is reason and, by extent, empiricism. As such, this rationality of the image is reinforced when the speaker humbly admits that this is an approach that makes sense to him, acknowledging his own fallibility in saying that others may well “have a better plan” in the two subsequent lines. The fact that the speaker chooses to quote Coleridge rather than to invent his own image further stresses this air of self-questioning, non-dogmatic humility.

The function this image serves in the poem is to provide a didactic counterpoint to the Imagist ideal of an “image with clean edges and hard colours” (Davie, Purity 95). Whereas the nuclear image, as established in the previous chapters, radiates broken form and meaning, the empiric image connotes rationality and calmness. One derails and harshly disrupts the poem, while the other, with its emphasis on “nature” and “natural” and its elegant and deliberate pace, is an organic part of the whole. By juxtaposing the two, Davie stresses that it is not imagery in general he is opposed to, but merely the radical imagery in the tradition of the Imagists.


Conclusion

Derek Mahon describes “Rejoinder to a Critic” as “not only a typical but even, in its prohibitive contraint, an emblematic Movement poem; indeed, it’s virtually a Movement manifesto” (Mahon). This assessment appears true in many ways, but also paradoxical, given that the poem, as shown above, is essentially taking to the extreme a whole range of qualities the Movement poets were opposed to.

Ultimately, it appears Davie intentionally broke his own cardinal rules with “Rejoinder to a Critic,” and he did so not out of carelessness or due to having an epiphany, but in order to prove their validity. In a sense, consequently, the titular  “rejoining” may as well be what occurs when one places the poem next to the piece of literary criticism which appears to have spawned it. The “critic” addressed in the poem may be, it follows, none other than Davie himself.


Works Cited

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. “Dejection: An Ode.”  1802. Coleridge’s Poems. Ed. J. B. Beer. London: Dent, 1963. 280-283.
Conquest, Robert. Introduction. New Lines. Ed. Robert Conquest. London: Macmillan, 1956. xi-xvii.
Corcoran, Neil. English Poetry Since 1940. London: Longman, 1993.
Covey, Suzanne. "Beyond the Balloon: Sound Effects and Background Text in Lynn Johnston’s For Better or For Worse."  ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies. 2.2 (2006). Dept of English, University of Florida. 12 Mar 2008. <http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/archives/v2_2/covey/>.
Davie, Donald. “Impersonal and Emblematic.”  1960. The Poet in the Imaginary Museum. Essays of Two Decades. Ed. Barry Alpert. Manchester: Carcanet, 1977. 76-80.
---. Purity of Diction in English Verse. 1952. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.
---. “Rejoinder to a Critic.”  1957. Collected Poems 1950-1970. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972. 65.
Donne, John. “The Canonization.”  1633. The Elegies and The Songs and Sonnets. Ed. Helen Gardner. London: Oxford University Press, 1965. 73-75.
Korg, Jacob. “Imagism.”  A Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry. Ed. Neil Roberts. Oxford: Blackwell, 2001. 127-137.
Mahon, Derek. “Yeats and the Lights of Dublin.”  The Dublin Review 8 (2002). The Dublin Review. 12 Mar 2008. <http://www.thedublinreview.com/archive/eight/mahon.html>.
Pound, Ezra. “A Few Don’ts.”  1913. Literary Essays of Ezra Pound. 1954. Ed. T. S. Eliot. Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1968. 4.
---. “A Retrospect.”  1918. Essays. 3.
Regan, Stephen. “The Movement.”  A Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry. Ed. Neil Roberts. Oxford: Blackwell, 2001. 209-219.
Ruland, Richard, and Malcolm Bradbury. From Puritanism to Postmodernism. A History of American Literature. New York: Penguin, 1991.

This text was written in 2008.