Kelefa Sanneh has a piece in The New Yorker about reading (specifically gangster) rap lyrics as poetry. It’s an interesting question, but I’ve always been more captured by the opposite: reading poets as gangster rappers. Ezra Pound, for instance, is an ice-cold thug:
The man who fears war and squats opposing
My words for stour, hath no blood of crimson
But is fit only to rot in womanish peace
Far from where worth’s won and the swords clash
For the death of such sluts I go rejoicing;
Yea, I fill all the air with my music.
Papiols, Papiols, to the music!
There’s no sound like to swords swords opposing,
No cry like the battle’s rejoicing
When our elbows and swords drip the crimson
And our charges ‘gainst The Leopard’s rush clash.
May God damn for ever all who cry “Peace!”
Probably the whole deranged fascist thing. Anyone got another one?