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poet and a writer of spirited prose, his literary reputation has never waned, for he was one of the “inventors” in the Poundian sense. The Wen-fu is considered one of the most articulate treatises on Chinese poetics. The extent of its influence in Chinese literary history is equaled only by that of the sixth-century The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons of Liu Hsieh. In the original, the Wen-fu is rhymed, but does not employ regular rhythmic patterns: hence the term ‘rhymeprose.’”

GS (from “Axe Handles,” in Axe Handles, 1983):

There I begin to shape the old handle With the hatchet, and the phrase First learned from Ezra Pound Rings in my ears! “When making an axe handle the pattern is not far off.” And I say this to Kai “Look: We’ll shape the handle By checking the handle Of the axe we cut with—” And he sees. And I hear it again: It’s in Lu Ji’s Wen Fu, fourth century A.D. “Essay on Literature”—in the Preface: “In making the handle Of an axe By cutting wood with an axe The model is indeed near at hand.” My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen Translated that and taught it years ago And I see: Pound was an axe, Chen was an axe, I am an axe And my son a handle, soon To be shaping again, model And tool, craft of culture, How we go on.


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