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Upon many points of taste and of predilection we differed, but agreeing upon these three positions we thought we had as much right to a group name…This school has since been 'joined' or 'followed' by numerous people who, whatever their merits, do not show any signs of agreeing with the second specification… That little of it which is good is mostly in stray phrases; or if it be an older artist helping a younger it is great measure but rules of thumb, cautions by experience.
In the early 1900s, Pound published a series of essays; the majority of his essays discussed his opinions and critiques on the current modernist movement in poetry.
Clearly, Pound's viewpoint regarding the modernist movement was something that was very important to Pound - he left the country to get away from the movement, wrote poetry discussing his disdain for Americans, and wrote essays verbalizing his disapproval and dislike of the current teachings.
Ezra Pound's contribution to poetry is marked by his promotion of Imagism, a movement centered on clarity, economic language, and rhythm.
Pound started this movement after studying Japanese forms of poetry like waka verse and haiku.
'Untidy families' is not a positive image; when one thinks of something as untidy, he obviously considers it to be messy. Contrarily, a smile full of teeth is something that everyone hopes to have.
Ezra Pound Literary Essays
Why do you think Pound chose to describe the families of the fishermen as possessing these two characteristics? To show us, as readers, that even though something may not be good, or happy, to the naked eye, it can still be a positive attribute; a messy family is better than no family at all!
The speaker (Pound, in this case) is trying to impart his own, personal worldviews on the readers.
Remember earlier how we discussed Pound's disdain for American modernist poetry?
Well, here in this poem, Pound is discussing his disdain for 'the thoroughly smug' people of the world; one can easily make the comparison between Pound's opinion of both smug people and American modernist poets.
He discusses how the current generation is made up of self-righteous individuals who never once think of others.