Jack Quin


W.B. Yeats was deeply engaged in a substantial body of art writing centered on the Romanian sculptor. Yeats referred to Constantin Brancusi’s work in AVA, AVB, and in a neglected verse-fragment from the introduction to the 1934 Cuala Press edition of The Words upon the Window-Pane. The aesthetic debates glossed in these references underscore his familiarity, and at times disagreements, with the authoritative writing of Ezra Pound on Brancusi and modern sculpture. By revivifying the connections between Pound’s writing on Vorticist sculpture in the 1910s, on Brancusi in the 1920s, and Yeats’s own partial but astute engagements with these same figures, we might complicate a prevailing Vorticist historiography of modernist sculpture. The “smooth, curved surfaces, and rounded figures,” however unsettling or humorous, became particularly magnetic and paradigmatic in the later writing of Yeats.