Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound

Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972) was an American expatriate poet and critic, who became a major figure of the early modernist movement. His contribution to poetry began with his promotion of Imagism, a movement that derived its technique from classical Chinese and Japanese poetry, stressing clarity, precision and economy of language. His best-known works include Ripostes (1912), Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920) and his unfinished 120-section epic, The Cantos (1917–1969).

Working in London in the early 20th century as foreign editor of several American literary magazines, Pound helped to discover and shape the work of contemporaries such as T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Robert Frost and Ernest Hemingway. He was responsible for the publication in 1915 of Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and for the serialization from 1918 of Joyce's Ulysses. Hemingway wrote of him in 1925: "He defends when they are attacked, he gets them into magazines and out of jail. ... He writes articles about them. He introduces them to wealthy women. He gets publishers to take their books. He sits up all night with them when they claim to be dying ... he advances them hospital expenses and dissuades them from suicide."

Outraged by the loss of life during the First World War, he lost faith in England, blaming the war on usury and international capitalism. He moved to Italy in 1924, where throughout the 1930s and 1940s, to his friends' dismay, he embraced Benito Mussolini's fascism, expressed support for Adolf Hitler and wrote for publications owned by Oswald Mosley. The Italian government paid him during the Second World War to make hundreds of radio broadcasts criticizing the United States, as a result of which he was arrested for treason by American forces in Italy in 1945. He spent months in detention in a U.S. military camp in Pisa, including 25 days in a six-by-six-foot outdoor steel cage that he said triggered a mental breakdown, "when the raft broke and the waters went over me." Deemed unfit to stand trial, he was incarcerated in St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C., for over 12 years.

While in custody in Italy, he had begun work on sections of The Cantos that became known as The Pisan Cantos (1948), for which he was awarded the Bollingen Prize in 1949 by the Library of Congress, triggering enormous controversy. He was released from St. Elizabeths in 1958, thanks to a campaign by his fellow writers, and returned to live in Italy until his death. His political views ensure that his work remains controversial; in 1933 Time magazine called him "a cat that walks by himself, tenaciously unhousebroken and very unsafe for children." Hemingway nevertheless wrote: "The best of Pound's writing – and it is in the Cantos – will last as long as there is any literature."

Read more about Ezra PoundParis (1921–24), Italy (1958–72), Reception, Works

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Hugh Kenner
... Kenner's second book, The Poetry of Ezra Pound (1951) was dedicated to McLuhan, who had introduced Kenner to Pound on June 4, 1948, during Pound's incarceration at St ... Pound, who became a friend of Kenner's, had suggested the book be titled The Rose in the Steel Dust.) Later, Kenner said of McLuhan, "I had the advantage of being exposed to Marshall when he was at his most creative ... omnis divisa in partes tres, Yours, Hugh."" Kenner played an influential role in raising Ezra Pound's profile among critics and other readers of poetry ...
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... Manuscripts of Ernest Fenollosa, chosen and finished by Ezra Pound, with an introduction by William Butler Yeats. 1916 Ernest Fenollosa, Ezra Pound "Noh", or, Accomplishment A Study of the Classical Stage of Japan ... (poems and translations) 1920 Instigations of Ezra Pound Together with an Essay on the Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry, by Ernest Fenollosa ...
Burton Hatlen - Career - National Poetry Foundation
... Terrell is best known as a noted Ezra Pound scholar and the founder of the National Poetry Foundation ... Under Terrell and Hatlen, the Foundation focused on the works of Ezra Pound, as well as modern and contemporary forms of poetry ... The Paideuma focuses on Ezra Pound studies, as well as American and British modernism ...

Famous quotes by ezra pound:

    the loose fragrant cavendish
    and the shag,
    And the bright Virginia
    loose under the bright glass cases,
    Ezra Pound (1885–1972)

    The author’s conviction on this day of New Year is that music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance; that poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music; but this must not be taken as implying that all good music is dance music or all poetry lyric. Bach and Mozart are never too far from physical movement.
    Ezra Pound (1885–1972)

    It is more than likely that the brain itself is, in origin and development, only a sort of great clot of genital fluid held in suspense or reserved.... This hypothesis ... would explain the enormous content of the brain as a maker or presenter of images.
    Ezra Pound (1885–1972)

    There is no topic ... more soporific and generally boring than the topic of Ireland as Ireland, as a nation.
    Ezra Pound (1885–1972)

    I
    Am here a Poet, that doth drink of life
    As lesser men drink wine.
    Ezra Pound (1885–1972)