Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Three Readings of Ezra Pound’s “Metro Haiku”

Throughout the history of English poetry, there seldom is a poem like Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro” (hereafter referred to as “metro poem”) that has been endlessly researched by scholars, literary critics, and poets alike 1. Most of his readers are familiar with at least two versions of his metro poem: the original version published in the April 1913 issue of Poetry as follows:

The apparitionbbbbof these facebbin the crowd :
Petalsbbbbon a wet, black bough.

and one of the revised versions published in his 1916 book entitled Lustra as follows:

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Everyone may have his/her own reading of this ever-famous poem from different perspectives. But due to the limited space of this article and for Magnapoets readers who are interested in the Asian poetic traditions, I will discuss two major popular readings – the haikuesque and ideogrammatic ones -- in the following sections.

Read the full text here...

first published in the January 2010 issue of Magnapoets and reprinted in Haiku Reality, #4