Ezra Loomis Pound, 1885 - 1972
Portrait by Alvin Langdon Coburn (22 October 1913)
Born: 30 October 1885, Hailey, Idaho Territory
Died: 1 November 1972, Venice, Italy
By the time Ezra was five his family moved to the Philadelphia area where his father was an assayer for the mint. He was educated in a series of small "dame schools", two years in a military academy followed by a stint at the University of Pennsylvania. He got his degrees from Hamilton College at Clinton, New York, he left speaking nine languages. In 1908 he moved to London and became a mainstay of the literary field, discovering or introducing a wide array of new authors, including Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, E.E. Cummings, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, and many others. But then he moved to Italy and became a fascist. He attacked America on Italian radio, made a great many viciously antisemitic statements, was arrested at the end of the war, and spent twelve years in a Washington City mental hospital. The superintendent, fascinated by this inmate, may have sheltered him from the legal process by firmly declaring him insane, contrary to the opinion of the psychiatrists on the staff. The Bollingen Prize for poetry, to be issued by the Library of Congress, had just been created. A majority of the committee admired Pounds work and felt that it would shame the government into releasing Pound if he were the winner. It worked, although as a result the prize was only administered by AC that one time. He returned to Italy in 1958, dividing his time between Rapallo and Venice. On his 87th birthday he was too weak to leave his bed, was admitted to hospital the next day and died of intestinal blockage.
Additional quotes from Wikiquote. Wikiquote entries are "sourced" and may include items longer than those included here, particularly for poets, lyricists, and dramatists.
Ezra Pound quotes:
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- A general loathing of a gang or sect usually has some sound basis in instinct. permalink
- A great age of literature is perhaps always a great age of translations. permalink
- A man of genius has a right to any mode of expression. permalink
- A real building is one on which the eye can light and stay lit. permalink
- A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him. permalink
- All great art is born of the metropolis. permalink
- And New York is the most beautiful city in the world? It is not far from it. No urban night is like the night there.... Squares after squares of flame, set up and cut into the aether. Here is our poetry, for we have pulled down the stars to our will. permalink
- Any general statement is like a cheque drawn on a bank. Its value depends on what is there to meet it. permalink
ABC of Reading (1934)
- Anyone who is too lazy to master the comparatively small glossary necessary to understand Chaucer deserves to be shut out from the reading of good books forever. permalink
ABC of Reading (1934)
- Artists are the antennae of the race, but the bullet-headed many will never learn to trust the great artists. permalink
"Henry James" in Little Review (August 1918); also in Literary Essays of Ezra Pound (1954)
- 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. permalink
- 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. permalink
ABC of Reading (1934)
- But the one thing you should not do is suppose that when something is wrong with the arts, it is wrong with the arts only. permalink
Guide to Kulchur (1938)
- Come, let us pity those who are better off than we are.
Come, my friend, and remember that
The rich have butlers and no friends,
And we have friends and no butlers. permalink
- Either move or be moved. permalink
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