Another World by Ysabelle Cheung

Another World

There it was on the page: a constellation of ochre stars covering Pound like tiny faces or moons. Petals on a black wet bough, she thought, remembering how she used to read his poetry on the train before a boyfriend pointed out he was anti-Semitic, a raging fascist. The original problematic fave, he said, don’t even get me started on Cantos.

The book she now held in her hands was a hagiographic text written by a shrivelled scholar. There were too many of these at the secondhand bookstore. A large cull had been on their to-do list for months already.

“Pound,” her colleague said. “Haven’t seen that name in a while.” Under her arm was a stack of books yellowed with foxing, books no one had bought in years: Hemingway, Roth, Carver. “Going to throw these out. Need me to take that for you?”

She thought of Pound, the smell of the underground carriages soaked with dust; her boyfriend reading from an archived edition of New Age in which the author had described English women as inferior to Americans. “Preponderantly derivative” was how he described their minds. Hitler and Mussolini he called “simple men from the country,” equating them to saints.

She laughed at how she would now decide the fate of this little book, and she imagined others also editing him out from their bookstores and history. And a hundred years from now, if someone wanted to learn about Pound, maybe it would be just a little harder to find this information.

“If you’re going out already,” she called to her colleague, “can you take this with you?”

Ysabelle Cheung is a writer and editor based in Hong Kong. Her fiction writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from Granta, Catapult, and the Rumpus. Her short story ‘Please, Get Out and Dance,’ published in The Margins (AAWW), was nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize. Her essays and cultural criticism have appeared in the Atlantic, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Artforum, and Lithub, among others.

More by Ysabelle Cheung Ex / Re / Patriate


Art: Unknown author Public Domain ALT Passport photo of Ezra Pound with a face disappearing out of existence


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