Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound

Overview
Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972) was an American expatriate poet and critic and a major figure in the early modernist
Modernist poetry in English
Modernist poetry in English is generally considered to have emerged in the early years of the 20th century with the appearance of the Imagists. In common with many other modernists, these poets wrote in reaction to the perceived excesses of Victorian poetry, with its emphasis on traditional...

 movement in poetry. He became known for his role in developing Imagism
Imagism
Imagism was a movement in early 20th-century Anglo-American poetry that favored precision of imagery and clear, sharp language. The Imagists rejected the sentiment and discursiveness typical of much Romantic and Victorian poetry. This was in contrast to their contemporaries, the Georgian poets,...

, which, in reaction to the Victorian and Georgian poets, favored tight language, unadorned imagery, and a strong correspondence between the verbal and musical qualities of the verse and the mood it expressed.
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Quotations

Poetry must be as well written as prose.

Letter to Harriet Monroe, (January 1915)

Hang it all, Robert Browning, there can be but the one "Sordello."

From Draft of XXX Cantos (1933), No.2

Make it new!

Book title (1935)

But the one thing you shd. not do is suppose that when something is wrong with the arts, it is wrong with the arts ONLY.

Guide to Kulchur (1938)

The temple is holy because it is not for sale.

Cantos, XCVII.

The author's conviction on this day of the 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.

Preface

Literature is news that STAYS news.

Ch.1

Any general statement is like a cheque drawn on a bank. Its value depends on what is there to meet it.

p. 25

The man of understanding can no more sit quiet and resigned while his country lets literature decay than a good doctor could sit quiet and contented while some ignorant child was infecting itself with tuberculosis under the impression that it was merely eating jam tarts.

p. 33

AT ABOUT THIS POINT the weak-hearted reader usually sits down in the road, removes his shoes and weeps that he 'is a bad linguist' or that he or she can't possibly learn all those languages. One has to divide the readers who want to be experts from those who do not, and divide, as it were, those who want to see the world from those who merely want to know WHAT PART OF IT THEY LIVE IN.

p. 42
Encyclopedia
Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972) was an American expatriate poet and critic and a major figure in the early modernist
Modernist poetry in English
Modernist poetry in English is generally considered to have emerged in the early years of the 20th century with the appearance of the Imagists. In common with many other modernists, these poets wrote in reaction to the perceived excesses of Victorian poetry, with its emphasis on traditional...

 movement in poetry. He became known for his role in developing Imagism
Imagism
Imagism was a movement in early 20th-century Anglo-American poetry that favored precision of imagery and clear, sharp language. The Imagists rejected the sentiment and discursiveness typical of much Romantic and Victorian poetry. This was in contrast to their contemporaries, the Georgian poets,...

, which, in reaction to the Victorian and Georgian poets, favored tight language, unadorned imagery, and a strong correspondence between the verbal and musical qualities of the verse and the mood it expressed. His best-known works include Ripostes
Ripostes
Ripostes of Ezra Pound is a collection of 25 poems by the American poet Ezra Pound, submitted to Swift and Co. in London in February 1912, and published by them in October that year...

 (1912), Hugh Selwyn Mauberley
Hugh Selwyn Mauberley
Hugh Selwyn Mauberley is a long poem by Ezra Pound. It has been regarded as a turning point in Pound's career , and its completion was swiftly followed by his departure from England. The name "Selwyn" might have been an homage to Rhymers' Club member Selwyn Image. The name and personality of the...

 (1920), and his unfinished 120-section epic, The Cantos
The Cantos
The Cantos by Ezra Pound is a long, incomplete poem in 120 sections, each of which is a canto. Most of it was written between 1915 and 1962, although much of the early work was abandoned and the early cantos, as finally published, date from 1922 onwards. It is a book-length work, widely considered...

, which consumed his middle and late career, and was published between 1917 and 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
T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...

, James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

, Robert Frost
Robert Frost
Robert Lee Frost was an American poet. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and...

, and Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

. Pound was responsible for the publication in 1915 of Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, commonly known as Prufrock, is a poem by T. S. Eliot, begun in February 1910 and published in Chicago in June 1915. Described as a "drama of literary anguish," it presents a stream of consciousness in the form of a dramatic monologue, and marked the beginning of...

", and for the serialization from 1918 of Joyce's Ulysses
Ulysses (novel)
Ulysses is a novel by the Irish author James Joyce. It was first serialised in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, in Paris. One of the most important works of Modernist literature,...

. Hemingway wrote in 1925: "He defends [his friends] when they are attacked, he gets them into magazines and out of jail. He loans them money. ... 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 usury and international capitalism for the war. He moved to Italy in 1924 where throughout the 1930s and 1940s, to his friends' dismay, he embraced Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

's fascism, expressed support for Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, and wrote for publications owned by the British fascist Oswald Mosley
Oswald Mosley
Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet, of Ancoats, was an English politician, known principally as the founder of the British Union of Fascists...

. Beginning in 1935, after a long campaign of requests by Pound, he was allowed to make regular addresses on Italian state radio in support of Fascist policy and a variety of subject of his choosing. During the Second World War the Italian government paid him to make hundreds of radio broadcasts criticizing the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

, and in particular Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

, broadcasts that were monitored by the U.S. government. As a result, he was indicted by a U.S. grand jury
Grand jury
A grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether a criminal indictment will issue. Currently, only the United States retains grand juries, although some other common law jurisdictions formerly employed them, and most other jurisdictions employ some other type of preliminary hearing...

 on treason charges in mid-1943, along with eight others. At the end of the war, on May 3, 1945, he was arrested by Italian partisans
Italian resistance movement
The Italian resistance is the umbrella term for the various partisan forces formed by pro-Allied Italians during World War II...

 and turned over to American forces. 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, a decision disputed for decades after his death, he was incarcerated in St. Elizabeths
St. Elizabeths Hospital
St. Elizabeths Hospital is a psychiatric hospital operated by the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health. It was the first large-scale, federally-run psychiatric hospital in the United States. Housing several thousand patients at its peak, St. Elizabeths had a fully functioning...

 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
Bollingen Prize
The Bollingen Prize for Poetry, which is currently awarded every two years by Beinecke Library of Yale University, is a literary honor bestowed on an American poet in recognition of the best book of new verse within the last two years, or for lifetime achievement.-Inception and controversy:The...

 in 1949 by the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

. The honor triggered enormous controversy, mostly because of his antisemitism, his status as an indicted, but not convicted, traitor, and in part because it raised literary questions about whether a supposedly "mad" poet who held such contentious views could produce work of any value. He was released from St. Elizabeths in 1958, thanks to a protracted 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."

Background


Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho Territory
Hailey, Idaho
Hailey is a city in and the county seat of Blaine County, in the Wood River Valley of the central part of the U.S. state of Idaho. The population was 6,200 at the 2000 census. Hailey is the site of Friedman Memorial Airport , the airport for the resort area of Sun Valley/Ketchum, north. The town...

, the only child of Homer Loomis Pound (1858–1942) and Isabel Weston (1860–1948). Both parents' ancestors had emigrated from England in the 17th century. On his father's side, John Pound, a Quaker, sailed from England around 1650. His grandfather, Thaddeus Coleman Pound
Thaddeus C. Pound
Thaddeus Coleman Pound was a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly and the Wisconsin State Senate. Pound was Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin 1870 - 1872...

 (1832–1914), was a retired Republican Congressmen for north-west Wisconsin who had made and lost a fortune in the lumber business. His son Homer, Pound's father, had worked for Thaddeus until Thaddeus secured him an appointment as Register of the Government Land Office in Hailey.

On his mother's side Pound was descended from William Wadsworth
William Wadsworth (patriarch)
William Wadsworth was an early pioneer of New England, a founder of Hartford, Connecticut and the patriarch of numerous and prominent Wadsworth descendants of North America, including the poet Ezra Pound.-Origins:William’s exact origins have challenged descendants and researchers over the centuries...

, a Puritan who emigrated from England to Boston on the Lion in 1632. The Wadsworths married into the Westons of New York, and Harding Weston and Mary Parker produced Isabel Weston, Pound's mother. Harding apparently spent most of his life without work, so his brother, Ezra Weston and his wife, Frances, looked after Mary and Isabel.

Isabel was unhappy living in Hailey, and when her son was 18 months old she left with him to go back East. Homer followed them, and in 1889 Homer took a job as an assayer at the Philadelphia Mint. The family moved to 417 Walnut Street in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, then in July 1893 bought a six-bedroom house at 166 Fernbrook Avenue in the town of Wyncote, Pennsylvania.

Education


Pound's early education took place in a series of so-called dame schools, some of them run by Quakers: Miss Elliott's school in Jenkintown in 1892; the Misses Heacock's Chelten Hills school in Wyncote in 1893; and the Florence Ridpath school from 1894, which became the Wyncote Public School a year later. From 1898 until 1900 he attended the Cheltenham Military Academy, where the boys wore Civil War-style
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 uniforms, and were taught military drilling, how to shoot, and the importance of submitting to authority. Pound was clever, independent-minded, conceited, and unpopular. He knew early on that he wanted to be a poet. His first publication was on 7 November 1896 in the Jenkintown Times-Chronicle, a limerick about an American politician, William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan was an American politician in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. He was a dominant force in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, standing three times as its candidate for President of the United States...

—by E.L. Pound, Wyncote, Aged 11 years: "There was a young man from the West, / He did what he could for what he thought best." His first trip overseas came two years later when he was 13, a three-month tour of Europe with his mother and Aunt Frances, who took him to England, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. He was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

's College of Liberal Arts in 1901 at the age of 15:

I resolved that at 30 I would know more about poetry than any man living, that I would know what was accounted poetry everywhere, what part of poetry was "indestructible," what part could not be lost by translation and—scarcely less important—what effects were obtainable in one language only and were utterly incapable of being translated.

In this search I learned more or less of nine foreign languages, I read Oriental stuff in translations, I fought every University regulation and every professor who tried to make me learn anything except this, or who bothered me with "requirements for degrees."



He met Hilda Doolittle at the University of Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of the professor of astronomy, and later became known as the poet H.D.
H.D.
H.D. was an American poet, novelist and memoirist known for her association with the early 20th century avant-garde Imagist group of poets such as Ezra Pound and Richard Aldington...

 Doolittle wrote that she felt her life was irrevocably intertwined with Pound's; she followed him to Europe in 1908, leaving her family, friends, and country for little benefit to herself, and became involved with Pound in developing the "Imagisme" movement in London. He asked her to marry him in the summer of 1907, though her father refused permission, and wrote several poems for her between 1905 and 1907, 25 of which he hand-bound and called "Hilda's Book". He was seeing two other women at the same time—Viola Baxter and Mary Moore—later dedicating a book of poetry, Personae (1909), to the latter. He asked Mary to marry him that summer too, but she turned him down.
His parents and Frances Weston took him on another three-month European tour in 1902, after which he transferred to Hamilton College in Clinton, New York—possibly because of poor grades—where he studied the Provençal dialect with William Pierce Shephard, and Old English with Joseph D. Ibbotson. David Moody writes that it was at Hamilton with Shephard that he read Dante
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

, and out of the discussions emerged the idea for a long poem in three parts—dealing with emotion, instruction, and contemplation—which planted the seed for The Cantos. He graduated with a BPhil in 1905, then studied Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 under Hugo A. Rennert at the University of Pennsylvania, obtaining his MA in the spring of 1906. He registered as a PhD student to write a thesis on the jesters in Lope de Vega
Lope de Vega
Félix Arturo Lope de Vega y Carpio was a Spanish playwright and poet. He was one of the key figures in the Spanish Golden Century Baroque literature...

's plays, and was awarded a Harrison fellowship and a travel grant of $500, which he used to visit Europe again. He spent three weeks in Madrid in various libraries, including one in the royal palace; he was actually standing outside the palace during the attempted assassination on 31 May 1906 by anarchists of King Alfonso
Alfonso XIII of Spain
Alfonso XIII was King of Spain from 1886 until 1931. His mother, Maria Christina of Austria, was appointed regent during his minority...

, and left the country for fear he would be identified with them. He moved on to Paris, spending two weeks in lectures at the Sorbonne
Sorbonne
The Sorbonne is an edifice of the Latin Quarter, in Paris, France, which has been the historical house of the former University of Paris...

, followed by a week in London. He returned to the U.S. in July, and his first essay, Raphaelite Latin, was published in Book News Monthly in September. In 1907, at the university he apparently annoyed Felix Schelling, the head of English, with silly remarks during lectures—which included insisting that George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60...

 was better than Shakespeare, and taking out an enormous tin watch and winding it with slow precision—and his fellowship was not renewed at the end of the year. Moreover Schelling told Pound he was wasting his own time and that of the institution; Pound abandoned his dissertation and left without finishing his doctorate.

Teaching


In the fall of 1907 he took a job as a teacher of Romance languages at Wabash College
Wabash College
Wabash College is a small, private, liberal arts college for men, located in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Along with Hampden-Sydney College and Morehouse College, Wabash is one of only three remaining traditional all-men's liberal arts colleges in the United States.-History:Wabash College was founded...

 in Crawfordsville, Indiana, a conservative town that he called the sixth circle of hell, with an equally conservative college from which he was dismissed after deliberately provoking the college authorities. Smoking was forbidden, so he would smoke cigarillos in his office down the corridor from the President's. He annoyed his landlords by entertaining friends, including women, and was forced to move from one house after "[t]wo stewdents found me sharing my meagre repast with a lady gent impersonator in my privut apartments," as he told a friend. He was eventually caught in flagrante, although the details remain unclear and he denied any wrongdoing. The incident involved a stranded chorus girl to whom he offered tea and his bed for the night when she was caught in a snowstorm; when she was discovered the next morning by the landladies, Misses Ida and Belle Hall, his insistence that he had slept on the floor was met with disbelief, and he was asked to leave the college. Glad to be free of the place he left for Europe soon after.

Introduction to literary scene


He returned to Europe in the spring, arriving in Gibraltar in April with $80 in his pocket, but during the next few months earned money as a guide to American tourists. He sent poems to Harper's Magazine and began writing fiction that he hoped he could sell, and by the summer was in Venice, living over a bakery near the San Vio bridge. In July he self-published his first book of poetry, the 72-page A Lume Spento (With Tapers Spent), which sold 100 copies at six cents each. The London Evening Standard called it "wild and haunting stuff, absolutely poetic, original, imaginative." The title was from the third canto of Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

's Purgatorio
Purgatorio
Purgatorio is the second part of Dante's Divine Comedy, following the Inferno, and preceding the Paradiso. The poem was written in the early 14th century. It is an allegory telling of the climb of Dante up the Mount of Purgatory, guided by the Roman poet Virgil...

, alluding to both the excommunicate Manfred's death, and to that of his friend, the Philadelphia artist William Brooke Smith, who died of consumption
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 in his 20s.

In August he moved to London, where he ended up staying almost continuously for 12 years. He wanted to meet W.B. Yeats, the greatest living poet in Pound's view, and they became close friends, although Yeats was older by 28 years. He had sent Yeats a copy of A Lume Spento, and Yeats had replied that he found it charming. Pound told William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams was an American poet closely associated with modernism and Imagism. He was also a pediatrician and general practitioner of medicine, having graduated from the University of Pennsylvania...

, a friend from university: "London, deah old Lundon, is the place for poesy." English poets such as Maurice Hewlett
Maurice Hewlett
Maurice Henry Hewlett , was an English historical novelist, poet and essayist. He was born at Weybridge, the eldest son of Henry Gay Hewlett, of Shaw Hall, Addington, Kent. He was educated at the London International College, Spring Grove, Isleworth, and was called to the bar in 1891. He gave up...

, Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. Kipling received the 1907 Nobel Prize for Literature...

, and Alfred Lord Tennyson had made a particular kind of Victorian verse—stirring, pompous, and propagandistic—popular with the public. James Knapp writes that Pound wanted to focus on the individual experience, the particular, the concrete, and rejected the idea of poetry as versified moral essay. Arriving in the city with ₤3, he rented a room at 8 Duchess Street in the West End
West End of London
The West End of London is an area of central London, containing many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings, and entertainment . Use of the term began in the early 19th century to describe fashionable areas to the west of Charing Cross...

, then at 48 Langham Street, near Great Titchfield Street
Great Titchfield Street
Great Titchfield Street is a street in the West End of London. It runs north from Oxford Street to Greenwell Street, just short of the busy A501 Marylebone Road and Euston Road. It lies within the informally designated London area of Fitzrovia. In administrative terms it is in the City of Westminster...

, just a penny bus-ride from the British Museum. The house (see right) sat across an alley from the Yorkshire Grey pub, which made an appearance decades later in the Pisan Cantos, "concerning the landlady's doings / with a lodger unnamed / az waz near Gt Titchfield St. next door to the pub".

He persuaded the bookseller Elkin Mathews
Charles Elkin Mathews
Charles Elkin Mathews Charles Elkin Mathews Charles Elkin Mathews (1851 – 10 November 1921 was a British publisher and bookseller who played an important role in the literary life of late 19th and early 20th century London....

—publisher of Yeats's Wind Among the Reeds and the Book of the Rhymer's Club—to display A Lume Spento, and by October 1908 he was being discussed around town. In December he published a second collection, A Quinzaine for This Yule, and after the death of a lecturer at the Regent Street Polytechnic
University of Westminster
The University of Westminster is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom. Its origins go back to the foundation of the Royal Polytechnic Institution in 1838, and it was awarded university status in 1992.The university's headquarters and original campus are based on Regent...

 he managed to acquire a position lecturing in the evenings from January to February 1909 on "The Development of Literature in Southern Europe". He would spend his mornings in the British Museum Reading Room, followed by lunch at the Vienna Café on Oxford Street
Oxford Street
Oxford Street is a major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, United Kingdom. It is Europe's busiest shopping street, as well as its most dense, and currently has approximately 300 shops. The street was formerly part of the London-Oxford road which began at Newgate,...

. Ford Madox Ford
Ford Madox Ford
Ford Madox Ford was an English novelist, poet, critic and editor whose journals, The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, were instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English literature...

 described him, apparently tongue-in-cheek, as "approach[ing] with the step of a dancer, making passes with a cane at an imaginary opponent. He would wear trousers made of green billiard cloth, a pink coat, a blue shirt, a tie hand-painted by a Japanese friend, an immense sombrero, a flaming beard cut to a point, and a single, large blue earring."

Meeting Dorothy Shakespear, Personae


He met the novelist Olivia Shakespear
Olivia Shakespear
Olivia Shakespear, , was a British novelist, playwright, and patron of the arts. She wrote six books that are described as "marriage problem" novels. Her works sold poorly, sometimes only a few hundred copies. Her last novel, Uncle Hilary, is considered her best...

—Yeats's former lover and the subject of his The Lover Mourns for the Loss of Love—at a literary salon
Salon (gathering)
A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine taste and increase their knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "either to...

 in January 1909, and was invited to attend her Tuesday salons where he was introduced to Dorothy
Dorothy Shakespear
Dorothy Shakespear was an English artist, the daughter of novelist Olivia Shakespear, and the wife of the poet Ezra Pound. She was a member of the Vorticism movement, and had her work published in the literary magazine BLAST.Dorothy met Ezra Pound in 1909; after a long courtship the two were...

, Olivia's daughter, who became his wife in 1914. Through Olivia Shakespear he was introduced to Yeats, the artist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska was a French sculptor who developed a rough hewn, primitive style of direct carving....

, Wyndham Lewis
Wyndham Lewis
Percy Wyndham Lewis was an English painter and author . He was a co-founder of the Vorticist movement in art, and edited the literary magazine of the Vorticists, BLAST...

, and the rest of London's literary circle. Another patron was the American heiress Margaret Lanier Cravens (1881–1912), who after knowing him a short time offered him a large annual sum to allow him to focus on his work. Cravens killed herself in 1912, probably because the pianist Walter Rummel
Walter Morse Rummel
Walter Morse Rummel was a prominent pianist, especially associated with Claude Debussy's works, as well as a composer and music editor. He was of German-English descent and active mainly in France....

, long the object of her affection, married someone else, but possibly also because she learned of Pound's engagement to Dorothy.

In June 1909 another collection, Personae, was published by Mathews, his first publication to have any commercial success. It was reviewed by The Daily Telegraph and the Times Literary Supplement among others; they said it was full of passion and magic. Rupert Brooke
Rupert Brooke
Rupert Chawner Brooke was an English poet known for his idealistic war sonnets written during the First World War, especially The Soldier...

 gave a negative review in The Cambridge Review, complaining that Pound had fallen under the influence of Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse...

 by writing in "unmetrical sprawling lengths". In September another 27 poems appeared as Exultations, dedicated to Carlos Tracey Chester who had published his essay in Book News Monthly in 1906. Around the same time he moved into new rooms at Church Walk, off Kensington High Street
Kensington High Street
Kensington High Street is the main shopping street in Kensington, west London. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London....

, where he lived most of the time until 1914. His first book of literary criticism, The Spirit of Romance, was published in 1910, based on his lectures at the polytechnic; others included Instigations (1920), Indiscretions (1923), "How to Read" (1931), The ABC of Reading (1934), Make It New (1934), Polite Essays (1937), and Guide to Kulchur (1938).

In June 1910 he returned to the United States for eight months, in part to persuade the New York Public Library
New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is the largest public library in North America and is one of the United States' most significant research libraries...

, then being built, to change its design. The New York Times wrote that he almost daily visited the architects' offices to shout at them. His essays on America were written during this period, and were compiled as Patria Mia, published in 1950. He loved New York but no longer felt at home there. He felt the city was threatened by commercialism and vulgarity. He suffered jaundice but nevertheless persuaded his parents to finance his passage back to Europe. It was nearly 30 years before he visited the United States again. On 22 February 1911 he sailed from New York on the R.M.S. Mauretania, arriving in Southampton six days later. After a few days in London, he visited Paris again, where he worked on a new collection of poetry, Canzoni (1911), panned by the Westminster Gazette as a "medley of pretension", and spent time with Margaret Cravens. When he returned to London in August 1911, A.R. Orage
Alfred Richard Orage
Alfred Richard Orage was a British intellectual, now best known for editing the magazine The New Age. While working as a schoolteacher in Leeds, he pursued various interests, including Plato, the Independent Labour Party, and theosophy...

, editor of the socialist journal The New Age
The New Age
The New Age was a British literary magazine, noted for its wide influence under the editorship of A. R. Orage from 1907 to 1922. It began life in 1894 as a publication of the Christian Socialist movement; but in 1907 as a radical weekly edited by Joseph Clayton, it was struggling...

, hired him to write a weekly column, giving him a steadier income.

Imagism


Hilda Doolittle arrived in London from Philadelphia in May 1911 with the poet Frances Gregg and Gregg's mother; when they returned in September she decided to stay on. Pound introduced her to his friends, including the poet Richard Aldington
Richard Aldington
Richard Aldington , born Edward Godfree Aldington, was an English writer and poet.Aldington was best known for his World War I poetry, the 1929 novel, Death of a Hero, and the controversy arising from his 1955 Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Inquiry...

, whom she fell in love with and married in 1913. Before then, the three of them lived in Church Walk—Pound at no. 10, Doolittle at no. 6, and Aldington at no. 8—and worked daily in the British Museum Reading Room
British Museum Reading Room
The British Museum Reading Room, situated in the centre of the Great Court of the British Museum, used to be the main reading room of the British Library. In 1997, this function moved to the new British Library building at St Pancras, London, but the Reading Room remains in its original form inside...

. At the museum he also met regularly with the curator and poet Laurence Binyon
Laurence Binyon
Robert Laurence Binyon was an English poet, dramatist and art scholar. His most famous work, For the Fallen, is well known for being used in Remembrance Sunday services....

, who introduced him to the East Asian artistic and literary concepts that would become so vital to the imagery and technique of his later poetry. The museum's visitors' books show that Pound was often to be found during 1912 and 1913 in the Print Room examining Japanese Nishiki-e
Nishiki-e
refers to Japanese multi-colored woodblock printing; this technique is used primarily in ukiyo-e. It was invented in the 1760s, and perfected and popularized by the printmaker Suzuki Harunobu, who produced a great many nishiki-e prints between 1765 and his death five years later.Previously, most...

 inscribed with traditional Japanese waka verse
Waka (poetry)
Waka or Yamato uta is a genre of classical Japanese verse and one of the major genres of Japanese literature...

, a 10th century genre of poetry whose economy and strict conventions undoubtedly contributed to Imagist techniques of composition. Pound was at that time working on the poems that became Ripostes (1912), trying to move away from his earlier work, which he wrote later had reduced Ford Madox Ford in 1911 to rolling on the floor laughing at Pound's stilted language. He realized with his translation work that the problem lay not in his knowledge of the other languages, but in his use of English:

What obfuscated me was not the Italian but the crust of dead English, the sediment present in my own available vocabulary ... You can't go round this sort of thing. It takes six or eight years to get educated in one's art, and another ten to get rid of that education.

Neither can anyone learn English, one can only learn a series of Englishes. Rossetti made his own language. I hadn't in 1910 made a language, I don't mean a language to use, but even a language to think in.



He understood that to change the structure of your language is to change the way you think and see the world. While living at Church Walk in 1912, Pound, Aldington, and Doolittle started working on ideas about language that became the Imagism
Imagism
Imagism was a movement in early 20th-century Anglo-American poetry that favored precision of imagery and clear, sharp language. The Imagists rejected the sentiment and discursiveness typical of much Romantic and Victorian poetry. This was in contrast to their contemporaries, the Georgian poets,...

 movement. The aim was clarity: a fight against abstraction, romanticism, rhetoric, inversion of word order, and over-use of adjectives. Pound later said they agreed in the spring or early summer of 1912 on three principles:


1. Direct treatment of the "thing" whether subjective or objective.

2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.

3. As regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome.


Superfluous words, particularly adjectives, were to be avoided, as were expressions like "dim lands of peace," which he said dulled the image by mixing the abstract with the concrete. He wrote that the natural object was always the "adequate symbol." Poets should "go in fear of abstractions," and should not re-tell in mediocre verse what has already been told in good prose. A classic example of the style is Pound's "In a Station of the Metro
In a Station of the Metro
"In a Station of the Metro" is an Imagist poem by Ezra Pound published in 1913 in the literary magazine Poetry. In the poem, Pound describes a moment in the underground metro station in Paris in 1912; Pound suggested that the faces of the individuals in the metro were best put into a poem not with...

" (1913), inspired by an experience on the Paris Underground. "I got out of a train at, I think, La Concorde
Concorde (Paris Metro)
Concorde is a station on lines 1, 8 and 12 of the Paris Métro in the Place de la Concorde in central Paris and the 1st arrondissement.The station was opened on 13 August 1900, almost a month after trains began running on the original section of line 1 between Porte de Vincennes and Porte Maillot on...

, and in the jostle I saw a beautiful face, and then, turning suddenly, another and another, and then a beautiful child's face, and then another beautiful face. All that day I tried to find words for what this made me feel." He worked on the poem for a year, reducing it to its essence in the style of a Japanese haiku
Haiku
' , plural haiku, is a very short form of Japanese poetry typically characterised by three qualities:* The essence of haiku is "cutting"...

. It reads in its entirety:

Ripostes, translation work


It was in Ripostes
Ripostes
Ripostes of Ezra Pound is a collection of 25 poems by the American poet Ezra Pound, submitted to Swift and Co. in London in February 1912, and published by them in October that year...

, submitted to Swift & Co in February 1912 and published by them that October, that Pound moved toward more minimalist language, though Knapp writes that it is an uncertain volume, published when Pound had only begun his move toward Imagism; his first use of the word "Imagiste" was in Ripostes. Michael Alexander writes that the poems show a greater concentration of meaning and economy of rhythm than his earlier work. The collection includes five poems by the British poet T.E. Hulme, killed in Flanders in 1917 during the First World War to Pound's great distress. It also includes his translation of the eighth-century Old English poem "The Seafarer", not a literal translation, but a personal interpretation intended for readers with no Old English, a poem in its own right. It upset scholars, as did his other translations from Latin, Italian, French, and Chinese, either because of errors or because he lacked familiarity with the cultural context. Alexander writes that in some circles his translations made him more unpopular than the treason charge, and the reaction to The Seafarer was a rehearsal for the response to Homage to Sextus Propertius in 1919. His translation from the Italian of Sonnets and ballate of Guido Cavalcanti
Guido Cavalcanti
Guido Cavalcanti was a Florentine poet, as well as an intellectual influence on his best friend, Dante. His poems in their original Italian are available on Wikisource .-Historical background:...

 was also published in 1912.

Of great importance too was his work on the papers of Ernest Fenollosa
Ernest Fenollosa
Ernest Francisco Fenollosa was an American professor of philosophy and political economy at Tokyo Imperial University...

 (1853–1908), an American professor who had taught in Japan, and who had started translations of Japanese poetry
Japanese poetry
Japanese poets first encountered Chinese poetry during the Tang Dynasty. It took them several hundred years to digest the foreign impact, make it a part of their culture and merge it with their literary tradition in their mother tongue, and begin to develop the diversity of their native poetry. For...

 and Noh
Noh
, or - derived from the Sino-Japanese word for "skill" or "talent" - is a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century. Many characters are masked, with men playing male and female roles. Traditionally, a Noh "performance day" lasts all day and...

 plays, with which Pound became fascinated. Pound used Fenollosa's work as a starting point for what he called the ideogrammic method
Pound's Ideogrammic Method
The Ideogrammic Method was a technique expounded by Ezra Pound which allowed poetry to deal with abstract content through concrete images. The idea was based on Pound's reading of the work of Ernest Fenollosa....

. Fenollosa had studied Chinese poetry under a Japanese scholar, and in 1913 his widow, Mary McNeil Fenollosa, decided to give his unpublished notes to Pound after seeing his work; she said she was looking for someone who cared about the poetry, rather than the philology. Pound knew no Chinese himself, and was working from the posthumous notes of an American who had studied Chinese under a Japanese teacher. Nevertheless, Michael Alexander writes that there are competent judges of Chinese and English poetry who see Pound's work as the best translations of Chinese to English poetry ever made, though scholars have complained that it contains many mistakes, even more than The Seafarer. The result, the collection Cathay
Cathay
Cathay is the Anglicized version of "Catai" and an alternative name for China in English. It originates from the word Khitan, the name of a nomadic people who founded the Liao Dynasty which ruled much of Northern China from 907 to 1125, and who had a state of their own centered around today's...

 (1915), is in Alexander's view the most attractive volume of Pound's work. Wai-lim Yip
Wai-lim Yip
Wai-lim Yip, also known as Yeh Wei-lien and Ye Weilian , is a Chinese poet, translator, critic, editor, and professor of Chinese and comparative literature....

 of the Chinese University of Hong Kong
Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Chinese University of Hong Kong is a research-led university in Hong Kong.CUHK is the only tertiary education institution in Hong Kong with Nobel Prize winners on its faculty, including Chen Ning Yang, James Mirrlees, Robert Alexander Mundell and Charles K. Kao...

 writes: "One can easily excommunicate Pound from the Forbidden City of Chinese studies, but it seems clear that in his dealings with Cathay, even when he is given only the barest details, he is able to get into the central concerns of the original author by what we may perhaps call a kind of clairvoyance."

Marriage, BLAST


He was hired in August 1912 by Harriet Monroe
Harriet Monroe
Harriet Monroe was an American editor, scholar, literary critic, poet and patron of the arts. She is best known as the founding publisher and long-time editor of Poetry Magazine, which made its debut in 1912. As a supporter of the poets Ezra Pound, H. D., T. S...

 as a regular contributor to Poetry
Poetry (magazine)
Poetry , published in Chicago, Illinois since 1912, is one of the leading monthly poetry journals in the English-speaking world. Published by the Poetry Foundation and currently edited by Christian Wiman, the magazine has a circulation of 30,000 and prints 300 poems per year out of approximately...

, and started submitting poems by himself, James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

, Robert Frost
Robert Frost
Robert Lee Frost was an American poet. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and...

, D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence
David Herbert Richards Lawrence was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who published as D. H. Lawrence. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation...

, Yeats, H.D., and Aldington, as well as collecting material for a 64-page anthology, Des Imagistes (1914), which included Joyce's "I Hear an Army Charging Upon the Land." The Imagist movement began to attract attention from critics. In November 1913 Yeats took Pound to stay with him in rooms he rented in Stone Cottage in Coleman's Hatch, Sussex, to act as his secretary—Yeats's eyesight was failing—and they stayed there for 10 weeks, reading and writing, walking in the woods, and fencing for exercise. It was the first of three winters they spent there together, including one with Dorothy after she and Pound were married on 20 April 1914.

The marriage proceeded despite initial opposition from her parents, who were concerned about Pound's lack of income. He had only his earnings from literary magazines, particularly Poetry, The New Freewoman
The New Freewoman
The New Freewoman was a monthly London literary magazine edited by Dora Marsden and owned by Harriet Shaw Weaver. Initially Rebecca West was in charge of the literary content of the magazine, but after meeting Ezra Pound at one of Violet Hunt's parties in 1913 she recommended that he be appointed...

, and The Egoist
The Egoist (periodical)
The Egoist was a London literary magazine published from 1914 to 1919, during which time it published important early modernist poetry and fiction. In its manifesto, it claimed to "recognise no taboos," and published a number of controversial works, such as parts of Ulysses...

, and was probably earning considerably less than £300 a year. Dorothy's income was £50 of her own and £150 from her family. Her parents eventually consented, perhaps out of fear that she was getting older and no other suitor was in sight. Pound's concession to marry in church helped. Afterwards he and Dorothy moved into a large—famously triangular—room with no bathroom at 5 Holland Place Chambers, near Church Walk, with the newly wed Hilda and Richard Aldington living next door.

Pound began writing for Wyndham Lewis's literary magazine BLAST; only two issues ever appeared, the first in June 1914 and the second a year later. An advertisement in The Egoist said it would discuss "Cubism, Futurism, Imagisme and all Vital Forms of Modern Art." Pound took the opportunity to extend the definition of Imagisme to art, naming it Vorticism
Vorticism
Vorticism, an offshoot of Cubism, was a short-lived modernist movement in British art and poetry of the early 20th century. It was based in London but international in make-up and ambition.-Origins:...

: "The image is a radiant node or cluster; it is ... a VORTEX, from which, and through which, and into which, ideas are constantly rushing." When in reaction to the magazine, Lascelles Abercrombie
Lascelles Abercrombie
Lascelles Abercrombie was a British poet and literary critic, one of the "Dymock poets"...

 called for the rejection of Imagism and a return to the traditionalism of William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads....

, Pound challenged him to a duel on the basis that, "Stupidity carried beyond a certain point becomes a public menace." Abercrombie suggested as their choice of weapon unsold copies of their own books. The publication of BLAST was celebrated at a dinner attended by New England poet Amy Lowell
Amy Lowell
Amy Lawrence Lowell was an American poet of the imagist school from Brookline, Massachusetts who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926.- Personal life:...

, who came to London to meet the Imagists, but Hilda and Richard were already moving away from Pound's understanding of the movement, as he moved closer to Wyndham Lewis's ideas. When Lowell agreed to finance an anthology of Imagist poets, Pound's work was not included. He began to call Imagisme "Amygism," and in July 1914 declared it dead, asking only that the term be preserved, although Lowell eventually Anglicized it.

First World War, disillusionment


Between 1914 and 1916 he helped to have James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a semi-autobiographical novel by James Joyce, first serialised in the magazine The Egoist from 1914 to 1915, and published first in book format in 1916 by B. W. Huebsch, New York. The first English edition was published by the Egoist Press in February 1917...

 serialized in The Egoist then published in book form, and he persuaded Poetry to publish T. S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock in June 1915. Conrad Aiken
Conrad Aiken
Conrad Potter Aiken was an American novelist and poet, whose work includes poetry, short stories, novels, a play and an autobiography.-Early years:...

 writes that he had shown Prufrock to every conceivable editor in England, but it was dismissed as crazy. He eventually sent it to Pound who, Aiken writes, instantly saw that it was a work of genius and sent it to Poetry. "[Eliot] has actually trained himself AND modernized himself ON HIS OWN," Pound wrote to Monroe in October 1914. "The rest of the promising young have done one or the other but never both. Most of the swine have done neither."

After the publication in 1915 of Cathay, Pound began to speak of working on his long poem. He told a friend in August: "It is a huge, I was going to say, gamble, but shan't," and in September told another that it was a "cryselephantine poem of immeasurable length which will occupy me for the next four decades unless it becomes a bore." About a year later, he had the form of the first three attempts at Canto I, published in Poetry in January 1917. He was now a regular contributor to three literary magazines. From 1917 he wrote music reviews for The New Age under the pen name William Atheling, and weekly pieces for The Little Review
The Little Review
The Little Review, an American literary magazine founded by Margaret Anderson, published literary and art work from 1914 to 1929. With the help of Jane Heap and Ezra Pound, Anderson created a magazine that featured a wide variety of transatlantic modernists and cultivated many early examples of...

 and The Egoist. The volume of writing exhausted him, and he began to believe he was wasting his time with prose.

In 1919 he collected and published his essays for The Little Review into a volume called Instigations, and published "Homage to Sextus Propertius" in Poetry. "Homage" is not a strict translation; Moody describes it as "the refraction of an ancient poet through a modern intelligence". Harriet Monroe, editor of Poetry, published a letter from a professor of Latin, W.G. Hale, saying that Pound was "incredibly ignorant" of the language, and alluded to "about three-score errors" in Homage. Harriet did not publish Pound's response, which began "Cat-piss and porcupines!!" and continued, "The thing is no more a translation than my 'Altaforte' is a translation, or than Fitzgerald
Edward FitzGerald (poet)
Edward FitzGerald was an English writer, best known as the poet of the first and most famous English translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The spelling of his name as both FitzGerald and Fitzgerald is seen...

's Omar
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his translation of a selection of poems, originally written in Persian and of which there are about a thousand, attributed to Omar Khayyám , a Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer...

 is a translation ..." But she interpreted his silence after that as his resignation as foreign editor.

Hugh Selwyn Mauberley


Hugh Selwyn Mauberley
Hugh Selwyn Mauberley
Hugh Selwyn Mauberley is a long poem by Ezra Pound. It has been regarded as a turning point in Pound's career , and its completion was swiftly followed by his departure from England. The name "Selwyn" might have been an homage to Rhymers' Club member Selwyn Image. The name and personality of the...

—about a poet whose life, like Pound's, has become sterile and meaningless—was published in June 1920, marking his farewell to London. He was disgusted by the lives lost during the war and could not reconcile himself with it. Stephen Adams writes that, just as T. S. Eliot denied he was Prufrock, so Pound denied he was Mauberley, but the poem—made up of 18 short poems—is nevertheless read as autobiographical. It begins with a satirical analysis of the London literary scene, then turns to social criticism and economics, and an attack on the causes of the war, the word "usury" appearing in his work for the first time. The critic F.R. Leavis saw it as Pound's major achievement.

The war had shattered his belief in modern western civilization. He saw the Vorticist movement as finished and doubted his own future as a poet. He had only the New Age to write for, with other magazines ignoring his submissions or not reviewing his work. Toward the end of 1920 he and Dorothy decided their time in London was over, and resolved to move to Paris. A. R. Orage
Alfred Richard Orage
Alfred Richard Orage was a British intellectual, now best known for editing the magazine The New Age. While working as a schoolteacher in Leeds, he pursued various interests, including Plato, the Independent Labour Party, and theosophy...

 wrote in the January 1921 issue of The New Age:
Mr. Pound has shaken the dust of London from his feet with not too emphatic a gesture of disgust, but, at least, without gratitude to this country .... Mr. Pound has been an exhilarating influence for culture in England ... however, Mr. Pound ... has made more enemies than friends. Much of the Press has been deliberately closed by cabal to him; his books have for some time been ignored or written down; and he himself has been compelled to live on much less than would support a navvy.

Paris (1921–24)


The Pounds settled in Paris in January 1921 in an inexpensive apartment at 70 bis, rue Notre Dame des Champs. He became friendly with Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp was a French artist whose work is most often associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. Considered by some to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century, Duchamp's output influenced the development of post-World War I Western art...

, Tristan Tzara
Tristan Tzara
Tristan Tzara was a Romanian and French avant-garde poet, essayist and performance artist. Also active as a journalist, playwright, literary and art critic, composer and film director, he was known best for being one of the founders and central figures of the anti-establishment Dada movement...

, Fernand Léger
Fernand Léger
Joseph Fernand Henri Léger was a French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker. In his early works he created a personal form of Cubism which he gradually modified into a more figurative, populist style...

 and others of the Dada
Dada
Dada or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a...

 and Surrealist
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

 movements, as well as Basil Bunting
Basil Bunting
Basil Cheesman Bunting was a significant British modernist poet whose reputation was established with the publication of Briggflatts in 1966. He had a lifelong interest in music that led him to emphasise the sonic qualities of poetry, particularly the importance of reading poetry aloud...

, Ernest Hemingway, and his wife Hadley
Hadley Richardson
Elizabeth Hadley Richardson married writer Ernest Hemingway in 1921. She was born the youngest daughter to a St. Louis family. After Hadley fell out of a window as a child, her mother became overprotective and curtailed her activities from then on...

. He spent most of his time building furniture for his apartment and bookshelves for the bookstore Shakespeare and Company
Shakespeare and Company (bookshop)
Shakespeare and Company is the name of two independent bookstores on Paris' Left Bank. The first was opened by Sylvia Beach on 17 November 1919 at 8 rue Dupuytren before moving to larger premises at 12 rue de l'Odéon in the 6th arrondissement in 1922. During the 1920s, it was a gathering place for...

, and in 1921 his Poems 1918–1921 was published. In 1922 Eliot sent him the manuscript of "The Waste Land
The Waste Land
The Waste Land[A] is a 434-line[B] modernist poem by T. S. Eliot published in 1922. It has been called "one of the most important poems of the 20th century." Despite the poem's obscurity—its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location and time, its...

", then arrived in Paris to edit it with Pound, who blue-inked
Blue pencil (editing)
A blue pencil is a pencil traditionally used by an editor or sub-editor to show corrections to written copy. The colour is used specifically because it will not show in some lithographic or photographic reproduction processes; these are known as non-photo blue pencils...

 it with comments like "make up yr. mind ..." and "georgian." Eliot wrote of it: "I should like to think that the manuscript, with the suppressed passages, had disappeared irrecoverably; yet, on the other hand, I should wish the blue pencilling on it to be preserved as irrefutable evidence of Pound's critical genius."

In 1924 Pound secured funding for Ford Madox Ford
Ford Madox Ford
Ford Madox Ford was an English novelist, poet, critic and editor whose journals, The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, were instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English literature...

's transatlantic review
Transatlantic Review
Transatlantic Review was a literary journal founded and edited by Joseph F. McCrindle in 1959, and published at first in Rome, then London and New York...

 from American attorney John Quinn
John Quinn (collector)
John Quinn was a second generation Irish-American corporate lawyer in New York, who for a time was an important patron of major figures of post-impressionism and literary modernism, and collector in particular of original manuscripts.- Life :...

, and in it were published works by Pound, Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein, as well as extracts from Joyce's Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake is a novel by Irish author James Joyce, significant for its experimental style and resulting reputation as one of the most difficult works of fiction in the English language. Written in Paris over a period of seventeen years, and published in 1939, two years before the author's...

, before the money ran out in 1925. Pound wrote music reviews for it that were later collected into Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony.

Hemingway turned to Pound, who had gained a reputation as "an unofficial minister of culture who acted as mid-wife for new literary talent", to blue-ink his short stories. Although 14 years younger than Pound, the two forged a relationship of mutual respect and friendship, living on the same street for a time, and touring Italy together in 1923; as Hemingway biographer Jeffrey Meyers writes, "They liked each other personally, shared the same aesthetic aims, and admired each other's work", with Hemingway assuming the status of pupil to Pound's teaching. Pound introduced Hemingway to Lewis, Ford, and Joyce, while Hemingway in turn tried to teach Pound to box, but as he told Sherwood Anderson
Sherwood Anderson
Sherwood Anderson was an American novelist and short story writer. His most enduring work is the short story sequence Winesburg, Ohio. Writers he has influenced include Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, J. D. Salinger, and Amos Oz.-Early life:Anderson was born in Clyde, Ohio,...

, "[Ezra] habitually leads with his chin and has the general grace of a crayfish of crawfish".

Pound was 36 when he met the American violinist Olga Rudge
Olga Rudge
Olga Rudge was an American-born concert violinist, now mainly remembered as the long-time mistress of the poet Ezra Pound, by whom she had a daughter, Mary....

 in Paris in the fall of 1922, beginning a love affair that lasted 50 years. John Tytell
John Tytell
John Tytell is an American writer and academic, whose works on such literary figures as Jack Kerouac, Ezra Pound, Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, and William S. Burroughs, have made him both a leading scholar of the Beat Generation, and a respected name in literature in general. He has been a...

 writes that Pound had always felt there was a link between his creativity and his ability to seduce women, something Dorothy had turned a blind eye to over the years. He complained shortly after arriving in Paris that he had been there for three months without having managed to find a mistress. He was introduced to Olga, then 26, at a musical salon
Salon (gathering)
A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine taste and increase their knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "either to...

 hosted by American heiress Natalie Barney in her home at 20 rue Jacob, near the Boulevard Saint-Germain
Boulevard Saint-Germain
The Boulevard Saint-Germain is a major street in Paris on the Left Bank of the Seine river. It curves in a 3.5 kilometer arc from the Pont de Sully in the east to the Pont de la Concorde in the west and traverses the 5th, 6th and 7th arrondissements...

. The two moved in different social circles: she was the daughter of a wealthy Youngstown, Ohio steel family, living in her mother's Parisian apartment on the Right Bank
Rive Droite
La Rive Droite is most associated with the river Seine in central Paris. Here the river flows roughly westwards, cutting the city into two: looking downstream, the northern bank is to the right, and the southern bank is to the left....

, socializing with aristocrats, while his friends were mostly impoverished writers of the Left Bank
Rive Gauche
La Rive Gauche is the southern bank of the river Seine in Paris. Here the river flows roughly westward, cutting the city in two: looking downstream, the southern bank is to the left, and the northern bank is to the right....

. They spent the following summer in the south of France, where he worked with George Antheil
George Antheil
George Antheil was an American avant-garde composer, pianist, author and inventor. A self-described "Bad Boy of Music", his modernist compositions amazed and appalled listeners in Europe and the US during the 1920s with their cacophonous celebration of mechanical devices.Returning permanently to...

 to apply the concept of Vorticism to music, and managed to write two operas, including Le Testament de Villon. He also wrote pieces for solo violin, which Olga performed.

Birth of the children


The Pounds were unhappy in Paris. Dorothy was complaining about the winters, and Pound's health was poor. At a dinner someone had randomly tried to stab him, and it underlined that their time in France was over. They decided to move to a quieter place, and chose Rapallo
Rapallo
Rapallo is a municipality in the province of Genoa, in Liguria, northern Italy. As of 2007 it counts approximately 34,000 inhabitants, it is part of the Tigullio Gulf and is located in between Portofino and Chiavari....

, Italy, a town with a population of 15,000. "Italy is my place for starting things," he told a friend. Olga Rudge followed them there, carrying Pound's child. She apparently had no interest in raising a child, but Tytell writes that she felt having one would keep her connected to him. She gave birth to a daughter, Mary, on 9 July 1925 in Brixen
Brixen
Brixen is the name of two cities in the Alps:*Brixen, South Tyrol, Italy*Brixen im Thale, Tyrol, AustriaBrixen may also refer to:*Bishopric of Brixen, the former north-Italian state....

, and the baby was handed over to a German-speaking peasant woman whose own child had died, and who agreed to raise Mary (later de Rachewiltz) for 200 lire a month.

Pound told Dorothy about the birth, and in March 1926—after returning from a three-month visit to Egypt—she announced that she too was pregnant. She and Pound left Rapallo for Paris for the premiere of Le Testament de Villon
Le Testament de Villon
Le Testament de Villon is an opera written by American poet Ezra Pound.In 1919, when he was 34, Pound began charting his path as a novice composer, writing privately that he intended a revolt against the impressionistic music of Claude Debussy...

, without mentioning the pregnancy to Pound's friends or parents, and on 10 September 1926 Hemingway drove her to the American Hospital of Paris
American Hospital of Paris
The American Hospital of Paris, founded in 1906, located in Neuilly-sur-Seine, is a private, not-for-profit institution that is considered agréé/non-conventionné under the French system of healthcare. It has 187 surgical, medical, and obstetric beds....

 for the birth of a son, Omar
Omar Pound
Omar Shakespear Pound was an Anglo-American writer, teacher, and translator. He is the author of Arabic & Persian Poems and co-author of Wyndham Lewis: A Descriptive Bibliography...

. In a letter to his parents in October Pound wrote, "next generation (male) arrived. Both D & it appear to be doing well." Dorothy handed the baby over to her mother, Olivia, who raised him in London until he was old enough to go to boarding school. When Dorothy went to England each summer to see Omar, Pound would spend the time with Olga, whose father had bought her a house in Venice. The arrangement meant his children were raised very differently. Mary had one pair of shoes and books about Jesus and the saints, while Omar was raised as an English gentleman in Kensington by his sophisticated grandmother.

In 1925 the literary magazine This Quarter dedicated its first issue to Pound, including tributes from Hemingway and Joyce. Pound published Cantos 17–19 in the winter editions. In March 1927 he launched his own literary magazine, The Exile, but only four issues were published. It did well in the first year, with contributions from Hemingway, E. E. Cummings
E. E. Cummings
Edward Estlin Cummings , popularly known as E. E. Cummings, with the abbreviated form of his name often written by others in lowercase letters as e.e. cummings , was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright...

, Basil Bunting, Yeats, William Carlos Williams and Robert McAlmon
Robert McAlmon
Robert Menzies McAlmon was an American author, poet and publisher.-Life:McAlmon was born in Clifton, Kansas, the youngest of ten children of an itinerant Presbyterian minister....

. J.J. Wilhelm argues that some of the worst work came from Pound himself in the form of rambling editorials about Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 and praise of Lenin. He continued to work on Fenollosa's manuscripts, and in 1928 won the Dial poetry award for his translation of Confucius's poem Ta Hio. That year Homer and Isabel visited him in Rapallo. They had not seen him since 1914, and by then Homer had retired so they decided to move to Rapallo themselves, taking a small house, Villa Raggio, on a hill above the town.

The Cantos


The bulk of Pound's work on The Cantos
The Cantos
The Cantos by Ezra Pound is a long, incomplete poem in 120 sections, each of which is a canto. Most of it was written between 1915 and 1962, although much of the early work was abandoned and the early cantos, as finally published, date from 1922 onwards. It is a book-length work, widely considered...

 began after his move to Italy. Like all the other great epics, it is the story of good and evil, a descent into hell and progress to paradise. Its hundreds of characters fall into three groups: those who enjoy hell and stay there; those who experience a metamorphosis and want to leave; and a few who lead the rest to paradiso terrestre. He began work on it in 1915, but there were several false starts and he abandoned most of his earlier drafts, beginning again in 1922. The subject matter ranges from Odysseus, Troy, Dionysus, Malatesta, Confucius, and Napoleon, to Jefferson and Mussolini, Chinese history, Pisa, and usury, relying on memories, diaries, jokes, hymns, anecdotes, ideogrammic translation, and up to 15 different languages. Allen Tate
Allen Tate
John Orley Allen Tate was an American poet, essayist, social commentator, and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1943 to 1944.-Life:...

, who supported Pound for the Bollingen Prize for the sections of The Cantos known as the Pisan Cantos, writes that the poem is not about anything, and has no beginning, middle, or end. He argues that Pound was incapable of sustained thought and was "at the mercy of random flights of 'angelic insight,' Icarian self-indulgences of prejudices."

The first three cantos—now known as the ur-Cantos—appeared in Poetry in June–August 1917. The Malatesta Cantos (Cantos VIII, IX, X, and XI of a Long Poem) appeared in The Criterion
The Criterion (magazine)
The Criterion was a British literary magazine published from October 1922 to January 1939. The Criterion was, for most of its run, a quarterly journal, although for a period in 1927-28 it was published monthly. It was created by the poet, dramatist, and literary critic T. S...

 in July 1923, and two further cantos were published in the transatlantic review in January 1924. Pound published 90 copies in Paris in 1925 A Draft of XVI. Cantos of Ezra Pound for the Beginning of a Poem of some Length now first made into a Book. It was followed by A Draft of XXX Cantos (1930), Eleven New Cantos XXI–XLI (1934), The Fifth Decade of Cantos (1937), Cantos LII–LXXI (1940), The Pisan Cantos (1948), written while in custody in Pisa, and Seventy Cantos (1950). The first complete edition was published in 1964 as The Cantos (1–109), followed by Drafts and Fragments: Cantos CX-CXVII (1968).

Turn to fascism, Second World War


Pound came to believe during the 1920s that the cause of the First World War was finance capitalism, which he called "usury
Usury
Usury Originally, when the charging of interest was still banned by Christian churches, usury simply meant the charging of interest at any rate . In countries where the charging of interest became acceptable, the term came to be used for interest above the rate allowed by law...

," and that the solution was C.H. Douglas's idea of social credit
Social Credit
Social Credit is an economic philosophy developed by C. H. Douglas , a British engineer, who wrote a book by that name in 1924. Social Credit is described by Douglas as "the policy of a philosophy"; he called his philosophy "practical Christianity"...

, with fascism as the vehicle for reform; he had met Douglas in The New Age offices and had been impressed by his ideas. He presented a series of lectures on economics, and made contact with politicians in the United States about education, interstate commerce and international affairs. Although Hemingway advised against it, on 30 January 1933 Pound met Mussolini himself. Olga Rudge had played for Mussolini and had told him about Pound; Pound had already sent him a copy of Cantos XXX. During the meeting he tried to present Mussolini with a digest of his economic ideas, but Tytell writes that Mussolini brushed them aside, though he called the Cantos "divertente" (entertaining). The meeting was recorded in Canto 41: "'Ma questo' / said the boss, 'è divertente.'". Pound told Douglas that he had "never met anyone who seemed to GET my ideas so quickly as the boss."

A number of Pound's books were published in the 1930s, including ABC of Economics (1933), ABC of Reading
ABC of Reading
ABC of Reading is a book by Ezra Pound published in 1934. In it, Pound sets out an approach to the appreciation and understanding of literature ....

 (1934), Social Credit: An Impact (1935), Jefferson and/or Mussolini (1936), and A Guide to Kulchur (1938). In 1936 James Laughlin
James Laughlin
James Laughlin was an American poet and literary book publisher who founded New Directions Publishers.- Biography :He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry Hughart and Marjory Rea Laughlin...

—who had visited him in Rapallo in 1933 as a 20-year-old student—set up New Directions Publishing, and acted as Pound's agent, finding publications to accept his work and writing reviews.

When Dorothy's mother died in October 1938 in London, Dorothy asked Pound to organize the funeral, where he met their 12-year-old son Omar for the first time in eight years. He visited T. S. Eliot and Wyndham Lewis, who produced a now-famous portrait of Pound reclining. In April 1939 he sailed for New York, believing he could stop America from involvement in the Second World War, happy to answer reporters' questions about Mussolini while he lounged on the deck of the ship in a tweed jacket. He traveled to Washington, D.C. where he met senators and congressmen. Mary said he did it out of a sense of responsibility, rather than megalomania; he was offered no encouragement, and left depressed and frustrated. He received an honorary doctorate from Hamilton College on 12 June, and a week later returned to Italy. He began writing antisemitic material for Italian newspapers, including one entitled "The Jews, Disease Incarnate." He wrote to James Laughlin that Roosevelt represented Jewry, and signed the letter "Heil Hitler." He started writing for Action, a newspaper owned by the British fascist, Sir Oswald Mosley
Oswald Mosley
Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet, of Ancoats, was an English politician, known principally as the founder of the British Union of Fascists...

, arguing that the Third Reich was the "natural civilizer of Russia." After war broke out in September 1939, he began a furious letter-writing campaign to the politicians he had petitioned six months earlier, arguing that the war was the result of an international banking conspiracy, and that the United States should keep out of it.

Radio broadcasts


Tytell writes that by the 1940s no American or English poet had been so active politically since William Blake
William Blake
William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age...

. Pound had written over a thousand letters a year during the previous decade, and had presented his ideas in hundreds of articles, as well as in The Cantos. According to Tytell, Pound's fear was an economic structure that depended on the armaments industry, where the profit motive alone would govern war and peace. He started reading George Santayana
George Santayana
George Santayana was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. A lifelong Spanish citizen, Santayana was raised and educated in the United States and identified himself as an American. He wrote in English and is generally considered an American man of letters...

, and The Law of Civilization and Decay by Brooks Adams
Brooks Adams
Peter Chardon Brooks Adams , was an American historian and a critic of capitalism. He graduated from Harvard University in 1870 and studied at Harvard Law School in 1870 and 1871....

, finding confirmation of the danger of the capitalist and usurer becoming dominant. He wrote in The Japan Times
The Japan Times
The Japan Times is an English language newspaper published in Japan. Unlike its competitors, the Daily Yomiuri and the International Herald Tribune/Asahi Shimbun, it is not affiliated with a Japanese language media organization...

 that "Democracy is now currently defined in Europe as a 'country run by Jews,'" and told Oswald Mosley's newspaper the English were a slave race governed by the Rothschilds since Waterloo.

He broadcast over Rome Radio, though the Italian government was at first reluctant, concerned he might be a double agent. He told a friend: "It took me, I think it was, TWO years, insistence and wrangling etc., to GET HOLD of their microphone." He recorded just over a hundred broadcasts, and traveled to Rome one week a month to pre-record the 10-minute broadcasts, for which he was paid around $17. The broadcasts required the Italian government's approval in advance—though he often changed the text in the studio. The politics apart, he needed the money. Tytell writes that his voice had assumed a "rasping, buzzing quality like the sound of a hornet stuck in a jar." He continued to occasionally broadcast, and writing under pseudonyms until about April 1945, shortly before his arrest.

Arrest for treason


A few weeks later he returned south via Milan to Olga and Dorothy. They had been living in Isabel's apartment, but it was small so they decided to move in with Olga at Sant' Ambrogio. His daughter Mary, then 19, was sent to Gais in Switzerland, leaving Pound, as she wrote, "pent up with two women who loved him, whom he loved, and who coldly hated each other." He was in Rome when the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 landed in Sicily in July 1943. Pound borrowed a pair of hiking boots and a knapsack and left the city, having finally decided to tell Mary about his wife and son. He traveled 450 miles north, spending a night in an air raid shelter in Bologna, and taking a train part of the way to Verona. She almost failed to recognize him when he arrived, he was so dirty and tired. He told her everything about his other family; she later said she felt more pity than anger.
He returned to Rapallo, where on 2 May 1945, four days after Mussolini was shot, armed partisans
Italian resistance movement
The Italian resistance is the umbrella term for the various partisan forces formed by pro-Allied Italians during World War II...

 arrived at the house while Pound was there alone. He stuffed a copy of Confucius and a Chinese dictionary in his pocket, and was taken to their HQ in Chiavari
Chiavari
Chiavari is a town and comune on the Italian Riviera in the Province of Genoa, region of Liguria. It is situated near the mouth of the Entella River, in the center of a fertile plain surrounded by mountains except on the southwest, where it comes down to the Mediterranean Sea...

, although he was released shortly afterwards. He and Olga gave themselves up to an American military post in the nearby town of Lavagna
Lavagna
Lavagna is a fishing port city of c. 13,000 inhabitants in the curving stretch of the Italian Riviera di Levante called the gulf of Tigullio, in the province of Genoa in Liguria. The borgo of Lavagna was an important Ligurian cultural center in the Middle Ages...

. It was decided that Pound should be transported to U.S. Counter Intelligence Corps headquarters in Genoa, where he was interrogated by Frank L. Amprin, the FBI agent assigned by J. Edgar Hoover
J. Edgar Hoover
John Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972...

 to gather evidence following the 1943 indictment. Pound asked permission to send a cable to President Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 to offer to help negotiate peace with Japan. He also asked to deliver a final broadcast from a script called "Ashes of Europe Calling," in which he recommended peace with Japan, American management of Italy, the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, and leniency toward Germany. His requests were denied and the script forwarded to Hoover.

On 8 May, the day Germany surrendered, he told a reporter from the Philadelphia Record who had managed to get into the compound for an interview that Hitler was "a Jeanne d'Arc, a saint," and that Mussolini was an "imperfect character who lost his head." On 24 May he was transferred to the United States Army Disciplinary Training Center north of Pisa, used to house military personnel awaiting court martial. The temporary commander placed him in one of the camp's "death cells"—a series of six-by-six-foot outdoor steel cages lit up all night by floodlights. He was left for three weeks in isolation in the heat, denied exercise, eyes inflamed by dust, no bed, no belt, no shoelaces, and no communication with the guards, except for the chaplain. After two and a half weeks he began to break down under the strain. Richard Sieburth
Richard Sieburth
Richard Sieburth is a translator, essayist, editor, and literary scholar. He has gained widespread recognition for his numerous translations from both German and French literature, receiving a number of awards and prizes for his work. Sieburth is considered an authority on literary modernism,...

 writes that he recorded it in Canto 80, where Odysseus
Odysseus
Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....

 is saved from drowning by Leucothea
Leucothea
In Greek mythology, Leucothea , "white goddess") was one of the aspects under which an ancient sea goddess was recognized, in this case as a transformed nymph....

: "hast'ou swum in a sea of air strip / through an aeon of nothingness, / when the raft broke and the waters went over me." Medical staff moved him out of the cage the following week. On June 14 and 15 he was examined by psychiatrists, one of whom found symptoms of a mental breakdown, and he was transferred to his own officer's tent and allowed reading material. He began to write, and drafted what became known as The Pisan Cantos; the existence of a few sheets of toilet paper showing the beginning of Canto LXXXIV suggests he started it while in the cage.

St Elizabeths


He was transferred to the United States on 15 November, 1945. An escorting officer's impression was that "he is an intellectual 'crackpot
Crank (person)
"Crank" is a pejorative term used for a person who unshakably holds a belief that most of his or her contemporaries consider to be false. A "cranky" belief is so wildly at variance with commonly accepted belief as to be ludicrous...

' who imagined that he could correct all the economic ills of the world and who resented the fact that ordinary mortals were not sufficiently intelligent to understand his aims and motives." On 25 November he was arraigned in Washington D.C. on charges of treason. The charges included broadcasting for the enemy, attempting to persuade American citizens to undermine government support of the war, and strengthening morale in Italy against the United States. He was admitted to St. Elizabeths Hospital
St. Elizabeths Hospital
St. Elizabeths Hospital is a psychiatric hospital operated by the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health. It was the first large-scale, federally-run psychiatric hospital in the United States. Housing several thousand patients at its peak, St. Elizabeths had a fully functioning...

, where in June 1946 Dorothy was declared his legal guardian. He was held for a time in the hospital's prison ward, Howard's Hall, known as the "hell-hole," a building without windows in a room with a thick steel door and nine peepholes, which allowed the psychiatrists to observe him while they tried to agree on a diagnosis. Visitors were allowed only for 15 minutes at a time, while other patients wandered around outside the room screaming and frothing at the mouth, according to T. S. Eliot.
Pound's lawyer, Julien Cornell — whose efforts to have him declared insane are credited with having saved him from life imprisonment
Life imprisonment
Life imprisonment is a sentence of imprisonment for a serious crime under which the convicted person is to remain in jail for the rest of his or her life...

— requested his release at a bail hearing in January 1947. The hospital's superintendent, Winfred Overholser, agreed instead to move him to the more pleasant surroundings of Chestnut Ward, close to Overholser's private quarters, which is where he spent the next 12 years.

The historian Stanley Kutler
Stanley Kutler
Stanley Ira Kutler is an American historian best known for his lawsuit against the National Archives and Richard Nixon that won the release of the Watergate tapes....

 was given access in the 1980s to military intelligence and other government documents about Pound, including his hospital records. He wrote that the psychiatrists believed Pound had a narcissistic personality
Narcissistic personality disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity...

, but they considered him sane. Kutler said that Overholser protected Pound from the criminal justice
Criminal justice
Criminal Justice is the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts...

 system because he was fascinated by him.

Tytell argues that Pound was in his element in Chestnut Ward. He was at last provided for, and was allowed to read, write, and receive visitors, including Dorothy for several hours a day. He took over a small alcove with wicker chairs just outside his room, and turned it into his private living room, where he entertained his friends and important literary figures. He began work on his translation of Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

's Women of Trachis and Electra
Electra (Sophocles)
Electra or Elektra is a Greek tragedy by Sophocles. Its date is not known, but various stylistic similarities with the Philoctetes and the Oedipus at Colonus lead scholars to suppose that it was written towards the end of Sophocles' career.Set in the city of Argos a few years after the Trojan...

, and continued work on The Cantos. It reached the point where he refused to discuss any attempt to have him released. Olga Rudge visited him twice, once in 1952 and again in 1955, and was unable to convince him to be more assertive about his release. She wrote to a friend: "E.P. has ... bats in the belfry but it strikes me that he has fewer not more than before his incarceration."

The Pisan Cantos, Bollingen Prize


His publisher, James Laughlin, had Cantos 74–84 ready for publication in 1946 under the title The Pisan Cantos, and even gave Pound an advance copy, but he had held it back, waiting for an appropriate time to publish. Tytell writes that in June 1948 a group of Pound's friends—Eliot, Cummings, W. H. Auden, Allen Tate, and Joseph Cornell—met Laughlin to discuss how to have him released. According to the poet Archibald MacLeish
Archibald MacLeish
Archibald MacLeish was an American poet, writer, and the Librarian of Congress. He is associated with the Modernist school of poetry. He received three Pulitzer Prizes for his work.-Early years:...

, the men conceived a plan to have Pound awarded the first Bollingen Prize
Bollingen Prize
The Bollingen Prize for Poetry, which is currently awarded every two years by Beinecke Library of Yale University, is a literary honor bestowed on an American poet in recognition of the best book of new verse within the last two years, or for lifetime achievement.-Inception and controversy:The...

, a new national poetry award just announced by the Library of Congress, with $1,000 prize money donated by the Mellon family
Mellon family
The Mellon family is a wealthy and influential family originally of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, and its vicinity. In addition to Mellon Bank they were principally known for their control over Gulf Oil, Alcoa, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Koppers, as well as their major influence on...

. The awards committee consisted of 15 fellows of the Library of Congress, including several of Pound's supporters, such as Eliot, Tate, Conrad Aiken
Conrad Aiken
Conrad Potter Aiken was an American novelist and poet, whose work includes poetry, short stories, novels, a play and an autobiography.-Early years:...

, Amy Lowell
Amy Lowell
Amy Lawrence Lowell was an American poet of the imagist school from Brookline, Massachusetts who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926.- Personal life:...

, Katherine Anne Porter
Katherine Anne Porter
Katherine Anne Porter was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, essayist, short story writer, novelist, and political activist. Her 1962 novel Ship of Fools was the best-selling novel in America that year, but her short stories received much more critical acclaim...

, and Theodore Spencer
Theodore Spencer
-Life:He graduated from Princeton University in 1923, and a Ph.D from Harvard University in 1928. He then taught there, from 1927 to 1949. He was appointed lecturer in English literature at Cambridge University, England, in 1939. In 1942, Spencer gave the Lowell lectures on Shakespeare, published...

. The idea was that the Justice Department would be placed in an untenable position if Pound won a major award and was not released. Laughlin published The Pisan Cantos on 30 July 1948, and the following year the prize went to Pound. There were two dissenting voices, Katherine Garrison Chapin, the wife of Francis Biddle
Francis Biddle
Francis Beverley Biddle was an American lawyer and judge who was Attorney General of the United States during World War II and who served as the primary American judge during the postwar Nuremberg trials....

, the Attorney General
United States Attorney General
The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. The attorney general is considered to be the chief lawyer of the U.S. government...

 who had indicted Pound for treason, and Karl Shapiro
Karl Shapiro
Karl Jay Shapiro was an American poet. He was appointed the fifth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1946.-Biography:...

, who said that he could not vote for an antisemite because he was Jewish himself. Pound's response to the news of the award was, "No comment from the bughouse."

There was uproar. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted critics who said "poetry [cannot] convert words into maggots that eat at human dignity and still be good poetry." Robert Hillyer
Robert Hillyer
Robert Silliman Hillyer was an American poet.-Life:He was born in East Orange, New Jersey. He attended Kent School in Kent, Connecticut and graduated from Harvard in 1917, after which he went to France and volunteered with the S.S.U. 60 of the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps serving the Allied...

, a Pulitzer Prize winner and president of the Poetry Society of America, attacked the committee in The Saturday Review of Literature, telling journalists that he "never saw anything to admire in Pound, not one line." Congressman Jacob K. Javits
Jacob K. Javits
Jacob Koppel "Jack" Javits was a politician who served as United States Senator from New York from 1957 to 1981. A liberal Republican, he was originally allied with Governor Nelson Rockefeller, fellow U.S...

 demanded an investigation into the awards committee, and as a result it was the last time the prize was administered by the Library of Congress.

Controversial friendships, release


Although Pound repudiated his antisemitism in public, Tytell writes that in private it continued. He often refused to talk to psychiatrists with Jewish-sounding names, would refer to people he disliked as Jews, and urged his visitors to read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1903), a forgery
Forgery
Forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents with the intent to deceive. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations. Forging money or...

 claiming to represent a Jewish plan for world domination. He struck up a friendship during the 1950s with the writer Eustace Mullins
Eustace Mullins
Eustace Clarence Mullins, Jr. was a populist American political writer, biographer, and antisemite. His most famous and influential work is The Secrets of The Federal Reserve, described by congressman Wright Patman as 'a very fine book [which] has been very useful to me'...

, believed to be associated with the Aryan League of America, who wrote a biography of Pound, This Difficult Individual, Ezra Pound (1961).

Even more damaging was his friendship with a far-right activist and member of the Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

, John Kasper
John Kasper
John Kasper was an American far-right activist who took a militant stand against racial integration during the civil rights movement.Educated at Columbia University, Kasper became a devotee of Ezra Pound and corresponded with him as a student...

. Kasper had come to admire Pound during some literature classes at university, and after he wrote to Pound in 1950 the two became friends. Kasper opened a bookstore in Greenwich Village in 1953 called "Make it New," reflecting his commitment to Pound's ideas; it specialized in far-right material, including Nazi literature, and Pound's poetry and translations were displayed in the window. Kasper and another follower of Pound's, David Horton, set up a publishing imprint, Square Dollar Series, which Pound used as a vehicle for his tracts about economic reform. Kasper was eventually jailed for the 1957 bombing of the Hattie Cotton School in Nashville, targeted because a black girl had registered as a student. Wilhelm writes that there were a lot of perfectly respectable people visiting Pound too, such as the classicist J.P. Sullivan and the writer Guy Davenport
Guy Davenport
Guy Mattison Davenport was an American writer, translator, illustrator, painter, intellectual, and teacher.-Life:...

, but it was the association with Mullins and Kasper that stood out, and it delayed his release from St Elizabeths. In an interview for the Paris Review
Paris Review
The Paris Review is a literary quarterly founded in 1953 by Harold L. Humes, Peter Matthiessen and George Plimpton. Plimpton edited the Review from its founding until his death in 2003. In its first five years, The Paris Review published works by Jack Kerouac, Philip Larkin, V. S...

 in 1954, when asked by interviewer George Plimpton
George Plimpton
George Ames Plimpton was an American journalist, writer, editor, and actor. He is widely known for his sports writing and for helping to found The Paris Review.-Early life:...

 about Pound's relationship with Kaspar, Hemingway replied that Pound should be released and Kaspar jailed.

Eliot's friends continued to try to secure his release. MacLeish wrote to Hemingway in June 1957 asking him to write a letter on Pound's behalf. Hemingway believed Pound was unable to abstain from awkward political statements or from friendships with people like Kasper, but he signed the letters of support anyway, and pledged $1,500 to be given to Pound when he was released. Shortly after Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, he told Time magazine that "this would be a good year to release poets."

In 1957 several publications began campaigning for his release. Le Figaro published an appeal entitled "The Lunatic at St Elizabeths." The New Republic, Esquire and The Nation followed suit; The Nation argued that Pound was a sick and vicious old man, but that he had rights too. In 1958 MacLeish hired Thurman Arnold
Thurman Arnold
Thurman Wesley Arnold was an iconoclastic Washington, D.C. lawyer. He was best known for his trust-busting campaign as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Department of Justice from 1938 to 1943...

, a prestigious lawyer who ended up charging no fee, to file a motion to dismiss the 1945 indictment. Overholser, the hospital's superintendent, supported the application with an affidavit saying Pound was permanently and incurably insane, and that confinement served no therapeutic purpose. The motion was heard on 18 April by the same judge who had committed him to St Elizabeths. The Department of Justice did not oppose the motion, and Pound was free.

Italy (1958–72)


Pound arrived in Naples in July, where he was photographed giving a fascist salute by the waiting press. When asked by the press when he had been released from the mental hospital, he replied "I never was. When I left the hospital I was still in America, and all America is an insane asylum." He and Dorothy went to live with Mary at Castle Brunnenburg
Schloss Brunnenburg
Brunnenburg is a castle in the province of South Tyrol, in northern Italy.- History :Originally built circa 1250, it was completely restored by Boris and Mary de Rachewiltz, who made it their home in the mid-20th century...

 near Merano in the Province of South Tyrol
South Tyrol
South Tyrol , also known by its Italian name Alto Adige, is an autonomous province in northern Italy. It is one of the two autonomous provinces that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The province has an area of and a total population of more than 500,000 inhabitants...

, where he met his grandson, Walter, and his granddaughter, Patrizia, for the first time—then returned to Rapallo, where Olga Rudge was waiting to join them. They were accompanied by a teacher Pound had met in hospital, Marcella Spann, 40 years younger than he was, who was now ostensibly acting as his secretary, collecting poems for an anthology. The four women soon fell out, vying for control over him; Canto 113 alluded to it: "Pride, jealousy and possessiveness / 3 pains of hell." Pound was in love with Marcella, seeing in her his last chance for love and youth. He wrote about her in Canto CXIII: "The long flank, the firm breast / and to know beauty and death and despair / And to think that what has been shall be, / flowing, ever unstill." Dorothy had usually ignored his affairs, but she used her legal power over his royalties to make sure Marcella was seen off, sent back to America. Pound wrote to Hemingway: "Old man him tired."

By December 1959 he had fallen into a depression, insisting his work was worthless and The Cantos were botched. In a 1960 interview given in Rome to Donald Hall
Donald Hall
Donald Hall is an American poet. He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 2006.-Personal life:...

 for Paris Review
Paris Review
The Paris Review is a literary quarterly founded in 1953 by Harold L. Humes, Peter Matthiessen and George Plimpton. Plimpton edited the Review from its founding until his death in 2003. In its first five years, The Paris Review published works by Jack Kerouac, Philip Larkin, V. S...

, he said: "You—find me—in fragments." Hall wrote that he seemed in an "abject despair, accidie
Acedia
Acedia describes a state of listlessness or torpor, of not caring or not being concerned with one's position or condition in the world. It can lead to a state of being unable to perform one's duties in life. Its spiritual overtones make it related to but distinct from depression...

, meaninglessness, abulia
Aboulia
Aboulia or Abulia , in neurology, refers to a lack of will or initiative and is one of the Disorders of Diminished Motivation or DDM. Aboulia falls in the middle of the spectrum of diminished motivation, with apathy being less extreme and akinetic mutism being more extreme than aboulia...

, waste." He paced up and down during the three days it took to complete the interview, never finishing a sentence, bursting with energy one minute, then suddenly sagging, and at one point seemed about to collapse. Hall said it was clear that he "doubted the value of everything he had done in his life." Those close to him thought he was suffering from dementia, and in the summer of 1960 Mary placed him in a clinic near Merano when his weight dropped. He picked up again, but by the spring of 1961 he had a urinary infection. Dorothy felt unable to look after him, so he went that summer to live with Olga in Rapallo, then Venice; Dorothy mostly stayed in London after that with Omar. He attended a neo-Fascist May Day parade in 1962, but his health continued to decline. The next year he told an interviewer, Grazia Levi, "I spoil everything I touch. I have always blundered. ... All my life I believed I knew nothing, yes, knew nothing. And so words became devoid of meaning."

William Carlos Williams died in 1963, followed two years later by T. S. Eliot. Pound attended Eliot's funeral in London and traveled to Dublin to visit Yeats's widow. Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
Irwin Allen Ginsberg was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. He vigorously opposed militarism, materialism and sexual repression...

 visited him in Rapallo in October 1967. He described his work to Ginsberg as: "A mess ... my writing, stupidity and ignorance all the way through," and in the Pensione Alle Salute da Cici restaurant in Venice, he told Ginsberg, Peter Russell
Peter Russell (poet)
Irwin Peter Russell was a British poet, translator and critic. He spent the first half of his life—apart from war service—based in Kent and London, being the proprietor of a series of bookshops, editing the influential literary magazine Nine and being part of the literary scene...

, and Michael Reck: "... but my worst mistake was the stupid suburban anti-Semitic prejudice, all along that spoiled everything ... I found after seventy years that I was not a lunatic but a moron ... I should have been able to do better ..." He traveled to New York two years later for the opening of an exhibition that featured his blue-inked version of Eliot's The Waste Land, and received a standing ovation at Hamilton College when he accompanied Laughlin who was receiving an honorary doctorate. Shortly before his death in 1972 it was proposed he be awarded the Emerson-Thoreau Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, but after a storm of protest the academy's council opposed it by 13 to 9. The sociologist Daniel Bell
Daniel Bell
Daniel Bell was an American sociologist, writer, editor, and professor emeritus at Harvard University, best known for his seminal contributions to the study of post-industrialism...

, who was on the committee, argued that it was important to distinguish between those who explore hate and those who approve it. Two weeks before his 87th birthday he read for a gathering of friends at a café: "re USURY / I was out of focus, taking a symptom for a cause. / The cause is AVARICE."

On his birthday he was too weak to leave his bedroom at his home on the Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco , is the principal public square of Venice, Italy, where it is generally known just as "the Piazza". All other urban spaces in the city are called "campi"...

, and the following night he was admitted to the Civil Hospital of Venice, where he died in his sleep of an intestinal blockage on 1 November, aged 87, with Olga at his side. Dorothy was unable to travel to the funeral. Four gondoliers dressed in black rowed the body to the island cemetery, Isola di San Michele
Isola di San Michele
San Michele is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy.Originally a prison island, Napoleon's occupying forces decreed that Venetians could not bury their deceased on any of the main Venetians islands, but only on San Michele...

, where he was buried near Diaghilev
Sergei Diaghilev
Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev , usually referred to outside of Russia as Serge, was a Russian art critic, patron, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes, from which many famous dancers and choreographers would arise.-Early life and career:...

 and Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....

. Dorothy died in England the following year. Olga died in 1996 and was buried next to Pound.

Reception


Opinion varies about the nature of Pound's writing style. Critics generally agree that he was a strong lyricist, particularly in his early work. Scholars such as Ira Nadel see evidence of modernism in his poetry before he began the Cantos, and Witmeyer argues that, as early as Ripostes, a modern style is evident. His style drew on literature from a variety of disciplines. Nadel writes that he wanted his poetry to represent an "objective presentation of material which he believed could stand on its own," without use of symbolism or romanticism. The Chinese writing system most closely met his ideals. He used Chinese ideograms to represent "the thing in pictures," and from Noh
Noh
, or - derived from the Sino-Japanese word for "skill" or "talent" - is a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century. Many characters are masked, with men playing male and female roles. Traditionally, a Noh "performance day" lasts all day and...

 theater learned that plot could be replaced by a single image.

Nadel argues that imagism was to change Pound's poetry. He explains, "Imagism evolved as a reaction against abstraction ... replacing Victorian generalities with the clarity in Japanese haiku and ancient Greek lyrics." Imagism, to Pound, was a form of minimalism, as represented by the two-line poem "In a Station of the Metro". However, minimalism didn't lend itself to the writing of an epic such as the Cantos, and so Pound turned to the more dynamic structure of what he considered Vorticism for the Cantos.

Translations


In his Fenollosa translations, unlike previous American translators of Chinese poetry, who tended to work with strict metrical and stanza
Stanza
In poetry, a stanza is a unit within a larger poem. In modern poetry, the term is often equivalent with strophe; in popular vocal music, a stanza is typically referred to as a "verse"...

ic patterns, Pound created free verse
Free verse
Free verse is a form of poetry that refrains from consistent meter patterns, rhyme, or any other musical pattern.Poets have explained that free verse, despite its freedom, is not free. Free Verse displays some elements of form...

 translations. Whether the poems are valuable as translations continues to be a source of controversy. Pound scholar Ming Xie explains that the use of language in Pound's translation of the Old English poem "The Seafarer" is deliberate, avoiding merely "trying to assimilate the original into contemporary language". After his work with The Seafarer, it was in the Japanese Noh plays that he found an answer to his search for anti-naturalist minimalism which occurred just prior to his initial work with Fenellosa's papers, leading to the translation of 14 Chinese poems in Cathay, published in 1915. Neither Pound nor Fenollosa spoke or read Chinese proficiently, and Pound has been criticized for omitting or adding sections to his poems which have no basis in the original texts, though critics argue that the fidelity of Cathay to the original Chinese is beside the point. Hugh Kenner
Hugh Kenner
William Hugh Kenner , was a Canadian literary scholar, critic and professor.Kenner was born in Peterborough, Ontario on January 7, 1923; his father taught classics...

, in a chapter "The Invention of China" from The Pound Era, contends that Cathay should be read primarily as a work about World War I, not as an attempt at accurately translating ancient Eastern poems. The real achievement of the book, Kenner argues, is in how it combines meditations on violence and friendship with an effort to "rethink the nature of an English poem". These ostensible translations of ancient Eastern texts, Kenner argues, are actually experiments in English poetics and compelling elegies for a warring West.

Michael Alexander writes that, as a translator, Pound was a pioneer with a great gift of language and an incisive intelligence. He helped popularize major poets such as Guido Cavalcanti
Guido Cavalcanti
Guido Cavalcanti was a Florentine poet, as well as an intellectual influence on his best friend, Dante. His poems in their original Italian are available on Wikisource .-Historical background:...

 and Du Fu
Du Fu
Du Fu was a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty.Along with Li Bai , he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets. His greatest ambition was to serve his country as a successful civil servant, but he proved unable to make the necessary accommodations...

 and brought Provençal and Chinese poetry to English-speaking audiences. He revived interest in the Confucian classics and introduced the west to classical Japanese poetry and drama. He translated and championed Greek, Latin and Anglo-Saxon classics, and helped keep them alive at a time when classical education was in decline, and poets no longer considered translations central to their craft.

Legacy


His own work apart, he was responsible for advancing the careers of some of the best-known modernist writers of the early 20th century. In addition to Eliot, Joyce, Lewis, Frost, Williams, and Hemingway, he befriended and helped Marianne Moore
Marianne Moore
Marianne Moore was an American Modernist poet and writer noted for her irony and wit.- Life :Moore was born in Kirkwood, Missouri, in the manse of the Presbyterian church where her maternal grandfather, John Riddle Warner, served as pastor. She was the daughter of mechanical engineer and inventor...

, Louis Zukofsky
Louis Zukofsky
Louis Zukofsky was an American poet. He was one of the founders and the primary theorist of the Objectivist group of poets and thus an important influence on subsequent generations of poets in America and abroad.-Life:...

, Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
Sir Jacob Epstein KBE was an American-born British sculptor who helped pioneer modern sculpture. He was born in the United States, and moved to Europe in 1902, becoming a British citizen in 1911. He often produced controversial works which challenged taboos on what was appropriate subject matter...

, Basil Bunting
Basil Bunting
Basil Cheesman Bunting was a significant British modernist poet whose reputation was established with the publication of Briggflatts in 1966. He had a lifelong interest in music that led him to emphasise the sonic qualities of poetry, particularly the importance of reading poetry aloud...

, E.E. Cummings, Margaret Anderson, George Oppen
George Oppen
George Oppen was an American poet, best known as one of the members of the Objectivist group of poets. He abandoned poetry in the 1930s for political activism, and later moved to Mexico to avoid the attentions of the House Un-American Activities Committee...

, and Charles Olson
Charles Olson
Charles Olson , was a second generation American modernist poet who was a link between earlier figures such as Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams and the New American poets, which includes the New York School, the Black Mountain School, the Beat poets, and the San Francisco Renaissance...

. Hugh Witemeyer argues that the Imagist movement was the most important in 20th-century English language poetry because hardly any prominent poet of Pound's generation and the two generations after him was untouched by it. As early as 1917 Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He won three Pulitzer Prizes, two for his poetry and another for a biography of Abraham Lincoln. H. L. Mencken called Carl Sandburg "indubitably an American in every pulse-beat."-Biography:Sandburg was born in Galesburg,...

 wrote in Poetry: "All talk on modern poetry, by people who know, ends with dragging in Ezra Pound somewhere. He may be named only to be cursed as wanton and mocker, poseur, trifler and vagrant. Or he may be classed as filling a niche today like that of Keats in a preceding epoch. The point is, he will be mentioned."

Beyond this, his legacy is mixed. Hugh Kenner wrote in 1951 that there was no great contemporary writer less read than Pound, though he added that there was also no one who could appeal through "sheer beauty of language" to people who would rather read poets than talk about them. The British poet Philip Larkin
Philip Larkin
Philip Arthur Larkin, CH, CBE, FRSL is widely regarded as one of the great English poets of the latter half of the twentieth century...

 criticized him, "for being literary, which to me is the foundation of his feebleness, thinking that poetry is made out of poetry and not out of being alive." His antisemitism became central to an evaluation of his poetry, including whether it was read at all. Wendy Stallard Flory argues that the best approach to The Cantos—separating the poetry from the antisemitism—is perceived as apologetic. Her view is that the establishment of Pound as "National Monster" and "designated fascist intellectual" made him a stand-in for the silent majority in Germany, occupied France and Belgium, as well as Britain and the United States who, she argues, made the Holocaust possible by aiding or standing quietly by. The outrage after the treason charge was so deep that the imagined method of his execution dominated the discussion. Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller
Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons , Death of a Salesman , The Crucible , and A View from the Bridge .Miller was often in the public eye,...

 considered him worse than Hitler: "In his wildest moments of human vilification Hitler never approached our Ezra ...he knew all America's weaknesses and he played them as expertly as Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

 ever did". The response went so far as to denounce all modernists as fascists, and it was only in the 1980s that critics began a re-evaluation. The critic Macha Rosenthal
Macha Rosenthal
Macha Louis Rosenthal was an American poet and editor. The W. B. Yeats Society of New York renamed their award for achievement in Yeats studies the M. L. Rosenthal Award after Rosenthal's death...

 wrote that it was "as if all the beautiful vitality and all the brilliant rottenness of our heritage in its luxuriant vitality were both at once made manifest" in Ezra Pound.

Works



Books published in his lifetime
  • 1908 A Lume Spento. Privately printed by A. Antonini, Venice, (poems).
  • 1908 A Quinzaine for This Yule. Pollock, London; and Elkin Mathews, London, (poems).
  • 1909 Personae. Elkin Mathews, London, (poems).
  • 1909 Exultations. Elkin Mathews, London, (poems).
  • 1910 The Spirit of Romance. Dent, London, (prose).
  • 1910 Provenca. Small, Maynard, Boston, (poems).
  • 1911 Canzoni. Elkin Mathews, London, (poems)
  • 1912 The Sonnets and Ballate of Guido Cavalcanti Small, Maynard, Boston, (cheaper edition destroyed by fire, Swift & Co, London; translations)
  • 1912 Ripostes. S. Swift, London, (poems; first announcement of Imagism)
  • 1915 Cathay. Elkin Mathews, (poems; translations)
  • 1916 Gaudier-Brzeska. A Memoir. John Lane, London, (prose).
  • 1916 Certain Noble Plays of Japan: From the Manuscripts of Ernest Fenollosa, chosen and finished by Ezra Pound, with an introduction by William Butler Yeats.
  • 1916 Ernest Fenollosa
    Ernest Fenollosa
    Ernest Francisco Fenollosa was an American professor of philosophy and political economy at Tokyo Imperial University...

    , Ezra Pound: "Noh", or, Accomplishment: A Study of the Classical Stage of Japan. Macmillan, London,
  • 1916 Lustra. Elkin Mathews, London, (poems).
  • 1917 Twelve Dialogues of Fontenelle, (translations)
  • 1917 Lustra Knopf, New York. (poems). With a version of the first Three Cantos (Poetry, vol. 10, nos. 3, June 1917, 4, July 1917, 5, August 1917).
  • 1918: Pavannes and Divisions. Knopf, New York. prose
  • 1918 Quia Pauper Amavi. Egoist Press, London. poems
  • 1919 The Fourth Canto. Ovid Press
    John Rodker
    John Rodker was a British writer, modernist poet, and publisher of some of the major modernist figures. He was born in Manchester into a Jewish immigrant family, who moved to London while he was still young.-Career:...

    , London
  • 1920 Hugh Selwyn Mauberley
    Hugh Selwyn Mauberley
    Hugh Selwyn Mauberley is a long poem by Ezra Pound. It has been regarded as a turning point in Pound's career , and its completion was swiftly followed by his departure from England. The name "Selwyn" might have been an homage to Rhymers' Club member Selwyn Image. The name and personality of the...

    . Ovid Press, London.
  • 1920 Umbra. Elkin Mathews, London, (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
    Ernest Fenollosa
    Ernest Francisco Fenollosa was an American professor of philosophy and political economy at Tokyo Imperial University...

    . Boni & Liveright, (prose).
  • 1921 Poems, 1918–1921. Boni & Liveright, New York
  • 1922 Remy de Gourmount: The Natural Philosophy of Love. Boni & Liveright, New York, (translation)
  • 1923 Indiscretions, or, Und Revue des deux mondes. Three Mountains Press, Paris.
  • 1924 Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony. Paris, (essays). As: William Atheling.
  • 1925 A Draft of XVI Cantos. Three Mountains Press, Paris. The first collection of The Cantos.
  • 1926 Personae: The Collected Poems of Ezra Pound. Boni & Liveright, New York
  • 1928 A Draft of the Cantos 17–27. John Rodker, London.
  • 1928 Selected Poems, edited and with an introduction by T. S. Eliot. Faber & Gwyer, London
  • 1928 Confucius
    Confucius
    Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

    : Ta Hio: The Great Learning, newly rendered into the American language. University of Washington Bookstore (Glenn Hughes), (translation)
  • 1930 A Draft of XXX Cantos. Nancy Cunard
    Nancy Cunard
    Nancy Clara Cunard was a writer, heiress and political activist. She was born into the British upper class but strongly rejected her family's values, devoting much of her life to fighting racism and fascism...

    's Hours Press, Paris.
  • 1930 Imaginary Letters. Black Sun Press
    Black Sun Press
    The Black Sun Press was an English language book publisher founded in 1927 as Éditions Narcisse by poet Harry Crosby and his wife Caresse Crosby , American expatriates living in Paris...

    , Paris. Eight essays from the Little Review, 1917–18.
  • 1931 How to Read. Harmsworth, (essays)
  • 1933 ABC of Economics. Faber, London, (essays)
  • 1934 Eleven New Cantos: XXXI-XLI. Farrer & Rinehart, New York, (poems)
  • 1934 Homage to Sextus Propertius. Faber, London (poems)
  • 1934 ABC of Reading
    ABC of Reading
    ABC of Reading is a book by Ezra Pound published in 1934. In it, Pound sets out an approach to the appreciation and understanding of literature ....

    . Yale University Press, (essays)
  • 1935 Alfred Venison's Poems: Social Credit Themes by the Poet of Titchfield Street. Stanley Nott, Pmphlets on the New Economics, No. 9, London, (essays)
  • 1935 Jefferson and/or Mussolini. Stanley Nott, London, Liveright, 1936 (essays)
  • 1935 Make It New. London, (essays)
  • 1935 Social Credit. An Impact. London, (essays). Repr.: Peter Russell
    Peter Russell (poet)
    Irwin Peter Russell was a British poet, translator and critic. He spent the first half of his life—apart from war service—based in Kent and London, being the proprietor of a series of bookshops, editing the influential literary magazine Nine and being part of the literary scene...

    , Money Pamphlets by Pound, no. 5, London 1951.
  • 1936 Ernest Fenollosa: The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry. Stanley Nott, London 1936. An Ars Poetica With Foreword and Notes by Ezra Pound.
  • 1937 The Fifth Decade of Cantos. Farrer & Rinehart, New York, poems
  • 1937 Polite Essays. Faber, London, (essays)
  • 1937 Confucius: Digest of the Analects, edited and published by Giovanni Scheiwiller, (translations)
  • 1938 Culture. New Directions. New edition: Guide to Kulchur, New Directions, 1952
  • 1939 What Is Money For?. Greater Britain Publications, (essays). Money Pamphlets by Pound, no. 3, Peter Russell, London
  • 1940 Cantos LXII-LXXI. New Directions, New York, (John Adams Cantos 62–71).
  • 1942 Carta da Visita di Ezra Pound. Edizioni di lettere d'oggi. Rome. English translation, by John Drummond
    John Drummond
    John Drummond may refer to:* John Drummond of Milnab 16th-century Scottish engineer* John Fraser Drummond , WW2 fighter pilot* John Drummond, 1st Earl of Melfort , Earl of Melfort...

    : A Visiting Card, Money Pamphlets by Pound, no. 4, Peter Russell, London 1952, (essays).
  • 1944 L'America, Roosevelt e le cause della guerra presente. Casa editrice della edizioni popolari, Venice. English translation, by John Drummond: America, Roosevelt and the Causes of the Present War, Money Pamphlets by Pound, no. 6, Peter Russell, London 1951
  • 1944 Introduzione alla Natura Economica degli S.U.A.. Casa editrice della edizioni popolari. Venice. English translation An Introduction to the Economic Nature of the United States, by Carmine Amore. Repr.: Peter Russell, Money Pamphlets by Pound, London 1950 (essay)
  • 1944 Orientamini. Casa editrice dalla edizioni popolari. Venice (prose)
  • 1944 Oro et lavoro: alla memoria di Aurelio Baisi. Moderna, Rapallo. English translation: Gold and Work, Money Pamphlets by Pound, no. 2, Peter Russell, London 1952 (essays)
  • 1948 If This Be Treason. Siena: privately printed for Olga Rudge by Tip Nuova (original drafts of six of Pound's Rome radio broadcasts)
  • 1948 The Pisan Cantos. New Directions, (Cantos 74–84)
  • 1948 The Cantos of Ezra Pound (includes The Pisan Contos). New Directions, poems
  • 1949 Elektra (started in 1949, first performed 1987), a play by Ezra Pound and Rudd Fleming
  • 1948 The Pisan Cantos. New Directions, New York.
  • 1950 Seventy Cantos. Faber, London.
  • 1950 Patria Mia. R. F. Seymour, Chicago [Reworked New Age articles, 1912, '13 (Orage
    Alfred Richard Orage
    Alfred Richard Orage was a British intellectual, now best known for editing the magazine The New Age. While working as a schoolteacher in Leeds, he pursued various interests, including Plato, the Independent Labour Party, and theosophy...

    )
  • 1951 Confucius: The Great Digest; The Unwobbling Pivot. New Directions (translation)
  • 1951 Confucius: Analects (John) Kaspar
    John Kasper
    John Kasper was an American far-right activist who took a militant stand against racial integration during the civil rights movement.Educated at Columbia University, Kasper became a devotee of Ezra Pound and corresponded with him as a student...

     & (David) Horton, Square $ Series, New York, (translation)
  • 1953 Hugh Kenner
    Hugh Kenner
    William Hugh Kenner , was a Canadian literary scholar, critic and professor.Kenner was born in Peterborough, Ontario on January 7, 1923; his father taught classics...

     (ed.): The Translations of Ezra Pound, New Directions, (translations)
  • 1954 The Classic Anthology Defined by Confucius. Harvard University Press (translations)
  • 1954 Lavoro ed Usura. All'insegna del pesce d'oro. Milan (essays)
  • 1955 Section: Rock-Drill, 85–95 de los Cantares. All'insegna del pesce d'oro, Milan, (poems)
  • 1956 Sophocles: The Women of Trachis. A Version by Ezra Pound. Neville Spearman, London, (translation)
  • 1957 Brancusi. Milan (essay)
  • 1959 Thrones: 96–109 de los Cantares. New Directions, (poems)
  • 1960 Noel Stock (ed.): Impact: Essays on Ignorance and the Decline of American Civilization. Henri Regnery, Chicago
  • 1968 Drafts and Fragments: Cantos CX-CXVII. New Directions, (poems)


Selected posthumous publications
  • 1975 William Levy
    William Levy
    William Levy , known as the Talmudic Wizard of Amsterdam and Dr. Doo-Wop, is the author of such works as The Virgin Sperm Dancer, Wet Dreams, Certain Radio Speeches of Ezra Pound and Natural Jewboy....

     (ed.): Certain Radio Speeches of Ezra Pound. Cold Turkey Press, Rotterdam
  • 1976 Collected Early Poems of Ezra Pound. New Directions.
  • 1977 R. Murray Schafer
    R. Murray Schafer
    Raymond Murray Schafer is a Canadian composer, writer, music educator and environmentalist perhaps best known for his World Soundscape Project, concern for acoustic ecology, and his book The Tuning of the World...

     (ed.): Ezra Pound and Music: The Complete Criticism. New Directions, (essays).
  • 1978 Leonard W. Doob (ed.): 'Ezra Pound Speaking': Radio Speeches of World War II. Greenwood Press (speeches)
  • 1980 Harriet Zinnes (ed.): Ezra Pound and the Visual Arts. New Directions (essays)
  • 1991 Charlotte Ward (ed.): Pound's Translations of Arnaut Daniel. Garland, New York 1991 (translations)
  • 1992 Richard Sieburth
    Richard Sieburth
    Richard Sieburth is a translator, essayist, editor, and literary scholar. He has gained widespread recognition for his numerous translations from both German and French literature, receiving a number of awards and prizes for his work. Sieburth is considered an authority on literary modernism,...

     (ed.): A Walking Tour of Southern France: Ezra Pound Among the Troubadours. New Directions, New York.
  • 1996 Maria Luisa Ardizzone (ed.): Machine Art and Other Writings: The Lost Thought of the Italian Years. Duke University Press. (essays)
  • 1997 Jack Ross: Ezra Pound' s Fascist Cantos (72 & 73) together with Rimbaud's 'Poets at Seven Years Old' . Perdrix Press, Auckland (the two Salo Cantos were first published in the newspaper: Marina Repubblicanain early 1945; re-published in 1973 in an edition of 25; in Cantos editions (untranslated in Italian) since 1986.
  • 2002 Massimo Bacigalupo (ed.): Canti postumi. Mondadori, Milan, (Cantos)
  • 2002 Margaret Fisher, Ezra Pound's Radio Operas: The BBC Experiments 1931-1933 (MIT Press) with the complete radio script by Pound for the 1931 broadcast of Le Testament.
  • 2003 First edition of Cavalcanti, three-act opera (1931–1932). Robert Hughes and Margaret Fisher: Calvacanti: A Perspective on The Music of Ezra Pound (engraved music score of complete opera, Second Evening Art Publishing ISBN 978-0-9728859-0-4). A compact disk Ego Scriptor Cantilenae: The Music of Ezra Pound was published in 2003 by Other Minds; OM 1005-2, (music; 2 operas).
  • 2005 First edition of the unfinished third opera, Collis O Heliconii (c. 1933): The Recovery of Ezra Pound's Third Opera Collis O Heliconii, Settings of Poems by Catullus and Sappho, Margaret Fisher (ed.),(engraved music scores of two unfinished arias and musical interludes, Second Evening Art Publishing ISBN 978-0-9728859-3-5).


Userfriendly editions
  • 2003 Richard Sieburth (ed.): Ezra Pound, Poems and Translations. Library of America. ISBN 978-1-931082-41-9.
  • 2004 First edition, Complete Violin Works of Ezra Pound, Robert Hughes, ed. (engraved music scores, Second Evening Art Publishing ISBN 978-0-9728859-2-8).
  • 2008 First editions of the 1926 and 1933 versions of Ezra Pound's opera Le Testament. Margaret Fisher and Robert Hughes (eds.), (engraved music scores, Second Evening Art Publishing ISBN 978-0-9728859-4-2).
  • projected, 2011: First edition of the 1923 Le Testament de Villon
    Le Testament de Villon
    Le Testament de Villon is an opera written by American poet Ezra Pound.In 1919, when he was 34, Pound began charting his path as a novice composer, writing privately that he intended a revolt against the impressionistic music of Claude Debussy...

    . Facsimile of the 1923 holograph music score edited by George Antheil, with audio CD of the complete opera. Robert Hughes and Margaret Fisher (eds.), (Second Evening Art Publishing ISBN 978-0-9728859-8-0).


Further reading


  • Ezra Pound papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, accessed 12 October 2010.
  • Ezra Pound collection, University of Victoria, accessed 12 October 2010.
  • Frequently requested records: Ezra Pound, United States Department of Justice, accessed 14 October 2010.
  • Archival search, The National Archives, accessed 14 October 2010.
  • "Ezra Pound in his Time and Beyond", University of Delaware Library, accessed 19 October 2010.
  • Ezra Pound's "Vorticism" essay, from The Fortnightly Review
    Fortnightly Review
    Fortnightly Review was one of the most important and influential magazines in nineteenth-century England. It was founded in 1865 by Anthony Trollope, Frederic Harrison, Edward Spencer Beesly, and six others with an investment of £9,000; the first edition appeared on 15 May 1865...

     archive.
  • Ackroyd, Peter. Ezra Pound and his World. Thames and Hudson, 1980.
  • Bonfante, Jordan. "An Aging Genius in Exile", Life magazine, 27 March 1964.
  • Boyle, Kay. "Pound in Rapallo", The New York Review of Books, 7 May 1987.
  • Cookson, William. A Guide to the Cantos of Ezra Pound. Anvil, 1985.
  • Desai, Meghnad, The Route of All Evil: The Political Economy of Ezra Pound, 2006, Faber and Faber
    Faber and Faber
    Faber and Faber Limited, often abbreviated to Faber, is an independent publishing house in the UK, notable in particular for publishing a great deal of poetry and for its former editor T. S. Eliot. Faber has a rich tradition of publishing a wide range of fiction, non fiction, drama, film and music...

  • Mullins,E
    Eustace Mullins
    Eustace Clarence Mullins, Jr. was a populist American political writer, biographer, and antisemite. His most famous and influential work is The Secrets of The Federal Reserve, described by congressman Wright Patman as 'a very fine book [which] has been very useful to me'...

    , This Difficult Individual Ezra Pound, Fleet Publishing Corporation, (1961)

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