Ezra Pound

Poet, Author

1885 – 1972

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Who was Ezra Pound?

Ezra Weston Loomis Pound was an American expatriate poet and critic of the early modernist movement. His contribution to poetry began with his promotion of Imagism, a movement that called for a return to more Classical values, stressing clarity, precision and economy of language, and had an interest in verse forms such as the Japanese Haiku. His best-known works include Ripostes, Hugh Selwyn Mauberley and his unfinished 120-section epic, The Cantos.

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

Famous Quotes:

  • A heroic figure... not wholly to blame for the religion that's been foisted on him.
  • A civilized man is one who will give a serious answer to a serious question. Civilization itself is a certain sane balance of values.
  • If the individual, or heretic, gets hold of some essential truth, or sees some error in the system being practiced, he commits so many marginal errors himself that he is worn out before he can establish his point.
  • There once was a brainy baboon who always breathed down a bassoon for he said, It appears that in billions of years I shall certainly hit on a tune.
  • A man of genius has a right to any mode of expression.
  • 'Tis not need we know our every thought or see the work shop where each mask is wrought wherefrom we view the world of box and pit, careless of wear, just so the mask shall fit and serve our jape's turn for a night or two.
  • Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing. The rest is mere sheep-herding.
  • As a bathtub lined with white porcelain, when the hot water gives out or goes tepid, so is the slow cooling of our chivalrous passion, o my much praised but-not-altogether-satisfactory lady.
  • If a nation's literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays.
  • There are few things more difficult than to appraise the work of a man suddenly dead in his youth; to disentangle promise from achievement; to save him from that sentimentalizing which confuses the tragedy of the interruption with the merit of the work actually performed.

Citation

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Born
Oct 30, 1885
Hailey
Also known as
  • Ezra Loomis Pound
  • Pound, Ezra
Spouses
Children
Ethnicity
  • White American
Nationality
  • United States of America
  • Italy
Profession
Education
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Hamilton College
Died
Nov 1, 1972
Venice
Resting place
Isola di San Michele

Submitted
on July 23, 2013