Eliot’s The Waste Land and Pound’s The Cantos are not only major modernist poems; they have largely defined what we mean by modernist poetry. If they appear to be the definitive products of ‘a new era of high aesthetic self-consciousness and non-representationalism, in which art turns from realism and humanistic representation towards style, technique and spatial form in pursuit of a deeper penetration of life’ (Bradbury and McFarlane 1976: 25), as the modernist period has been described, it is not because they conform to an already-existing modernist template, but rather because the template itself was created from these works. These poems, therefore, should be understood less as representative of early twentieth-century poetry, than polemical and highly successful arguments about what poetry should be.