Study Guide

Canto XLV Calling Card

By Ezra Pound

Calling Card

Righteous Indignation

As you probably know by now, Ezra Pound (and the Modernists in general) weren't shy when it came to telling their audiences that the modern world stank and that poets were the right people to help make it better. But in this poem, Pound really outdoes himself and all of his contemporaries.

The amount of times this guy goes back to the word "usura" (twenty times) is staggering, and it gives all of Canto XLV the vibe of a sermon being delivered by a hectoring old priest. You especially get a sense of Pound's preachiness when he starts using all caps, like in line 24, "WITH USURA" and line 47, "CONTRA NATURAM." The use of Latin also helps you identify the poem as Pound's, since Pound loved to throw in different languages to help establish his intellectual and moral authority over his readers.

Oh yeah, and Pound loves to throw out the obscure references in this poem, too. Totally a Pound move.

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