THE KENSINGTON MODERNISTS

Ezra

THE KENSINGTON MODERNISTS

A witty, information-rich, psychogeographical stroll through the streets of Kensington along the ‘the Golden Mile of Modernism’. Rub shoulders with the giants of early 20th century English, Irish and American literature who all seem to have lived in Kensington at different points in their lives. Meet Virginia Woolf in her privileged but stuffed-shirt childhood, and T.S. Eliot in his depressingly happy dotage. Find out about ‘the Men of 1914’, four figures who were destined for great things: Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, and of course Eliot. Were they fascists, or weren’t they? Hear about such subsidiary ‘isms’ as Imagism, Vorticism, Futurism as well as the Kensington vs. Bloomsbury squabble. The salacious gossip includes Yeats’ adulterous affair with Olivia Shakespear, Ford Madox Ford’s with Violet Hunt, and James Joyce’s absurdly belated marriage to Miss Barnacle.

Joyce

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Pound's daughter

T.S. Eliot’s widow Valerie at the unveiling of a plaque for Ezra Pound at 10 Church Walk Kensington.

Here is Pound’s brilliant poem THE GARDEN, a vision of the English class sytem, strangely Christian for him.

THE GARDEN

by: Ezra Pound (1885-1972)

En robe de parade – Samain

IKE a skein of loose silk blown against a wall
She walks by the railing of a path in Kensington Gardens,
And she is dying piece-meal
of a sort of emotional anemia.
 
And round about there is a rabble
Of the filthy, sturdy, unkillable infants of the very poor.
They shall inherit the earth.
 
In her is the end of breeding.
Her boredom is exquisite and excessive.
 
She would like some one to speak to her,
And is almost afraid that I
will commit that indiscretion.

“The Garden” is reprinted from Lustra. London: Elkin Mathews, 1916.

 

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About Niall McDevitt

Niall McDevitt > poet > author of b/w (Waterloo Press, 2010) and Porterloo (International Times, 2012) > urban explorer > radical pedestrian who leads Shakespeare/Blake/Rimbaud /Yeats walks, among others.
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