Typesetting Variations on Ezra Pound's
In a Station of the Metro

Rik Ghosh

Variations in Spacing

Variation 1 -- This is an imagist poem consisting of two disjoint phrases and no verbs. The images depicted in the two phrases act as metaphors for each other, and word pairings are formed when the two are compared directly. This variation illustrates that Pound is comparing faces in a crowd to petals on a bough by spatially grouping "petals" with "faces" and "crowd" with "bough."

Variation 2 -- Pound was inspired to write this poem from an experience at the Concorde station of the Paris Metro. The walls of that station are decorated with a tiled mural that resembles a crossword, so for this variation, the words of the poem are arranged in a crossword-esque format.

Variation 3 -- This variation again creates the above two groups of words, this time varying letter spacing within a word. The letter spacing of the word "apparation" is adjusted to visually depict the process of apparation, and the letter spacings of "petals" and "faces" are adjusted to depict faces fading in and out and petals falling (which Pound says are similar). The large, even spacing of "bough" and "crowd" depict Pound's protrayal of both as large and steady.

Variation 4 -- This variation visually depicts the nature of certain words like "crowd," which is something that takes up sapce and is quite unruly, and "petals," which fall in a dancing manner. The words "wet" and "blank," especially with the comma between them, give the word "bough" a sense of steadiness and are well represented by a vertical format.

Variations in Titles and Headings

Variation 1 -- Since this is such a short poem, it is a significant decision to choose to read the title as simply a title or as another line of the poem itself. Here, the poem body is clearly differentiated from the title, so the title is read as just a title.

Variation 2 -- Here the title is again differentiated from the poem body. With the poem on top and the title fading into the background, the sentiment of the events of the poem taking place inside a metro station are heightened since the poem is physically inside a phrase that subtly but constantly reminds "[You are] In a Station of the Metro."

Variation 3 -- In this variation, the title is read as part of the poem. With each line in a larger heading tag, the poem gradually appears, depicting the process of apparation mentioned in the poem. To emphasize the idea of coming from nothing, the window title is filled with blanks space as well.

Variation 4 -- Here both the window title and the main "title" of the poem are simply the author's name. The actual title is depicted as just another line of the poem, so this variation makes the option of such a reading (which is an important reading) very clear.

Variations in Font Style and Weight

Variation 1 -- In this variation the font weight is varied between lines to mimic the process of fading in an out that Pound describes of the faces in the Metro station.

Variation 2 -- This variation juxtaposes italic text for the title and author credit with regular text for the poem body.

Variation 3 -- This variation juxtaposes bold text, regular text, and italic text, used to differentiate the author, title, and poem body. The line spacing of the original poem is removed to have the poem be read as a single sentence.

Variation 4 -- Here the author, title, and poem body exist as a single block of text and are differentiated using bold and regular-weight italic text. The aforementioned poetic link between faces and petals is highlighted through italicization.

Variations in Typeface

Variation 1 -- In this variation, a serif typeface for the title and a sans-serif typeface for the author and poem body and juxtaposed. Together they create a feeling reminiscent of early 20th century Paris that is approprate for this poem.

Variation 2 -- Here, a clean sans-serif typeface is juxtaposed with certain decorative letters that spell out the word "Metro." The decorative letters themselves depict the sort of movement expected of a train.

Variation 3 -- In this variation, two sans-serif typefaces are juxtaposed. The title is set in a rounder, thicker typeface, and the poem body and author are set in a sharper, thinner typeface.

Variation 4 -- In this variation, a serif typeface is again juxtaposed with a sans-serif typeface. Both the author and the tile are set in the serif typeface in a way such that it reads "Ezra Pound in a Station of the Metro," which highlights that the poem is an oberservation of Pound's while he is standing in a Metro Station.

Variations in Hyperlink Use

Variation 1 -- In this varation there are instructions for a link to a reading of the poem that loops.

Variation 2 -- Nearly each word of this variation is a hyperlink. The title links to the copy of the poem on Poetry Foundation, and the author's name links to his biography page on Poetry foundation. Each word of the poem links to its Miriam-Webster definition, so this variation demonstrates one important tactic in analyzing poetry: knowing the exact denotative definition of each word used.

Variation 3 -- Certain words of this variation link to images. The words "faces" and "bough" link to in image of petals on a wet bough, and the words "crowd" and "petals" link to an image of faces in a crowd. On the first viewing the user is met with a strange sensation: after returning to the page from clicking "faces," for example, the link becomes gray, but so does the link for "bough" (since they are the same link, unknown to the user as of yet). This again highlights the connection between the two phrases.

Variation 4 -- In this variation, the user virtually "enters" the poem/metro station and clicks through the poem. The word "faces" links to "petals," depicting the aforementioned connection, and the word "crowd" leads back to the title page since the crowds Pound describes are in the Metro station. The background turns black after the user "enters" the poem, and there is no link to leave -- only link back to another place in the poem; this depicts the sense of anxiety that Pound alludes to with his spooky diction.