Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

First and foremost, Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex is a labor of love on the part of poet Tom Holmes. A historical novel in poems, Holmes’ collection follows the relationships between and among Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, his virginal and significantly older paramour, Sophie Brzeska, Ezra Pound, and Wyndham Lewis. At the center of these relationships is the so-called Hieratic Head, a primitive-looking bust of Pound sculpted by Gaudier-Brzeska at the height of his involvement in Vorticism. Spare, elegant, and haunting, the poems in this volume call out to each other like ghosts in the night — each struggling to explain the inexplicable, each verging on apology. To put it another way, the pieces read like the unconscious subtext of the works that inspired them, an echo of the complex lives that gave birth to the short-lived artistic movement and bore witness to its aftermath.

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