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American writer, editor, and critic Ezra Pounds bestknown work is the Cantos, a series of poems addr

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Title: American writer, editor, and critic Ezra Pounds bestknown work is the Cantos, a series of poems addr


1
Ezra Pound
American writer, editor, and critic Ezra Pounds
best-known work is the Cantos, a series of poems
addressing a wide range of subjects, from the
historical to the personal. Pound wrote the
Cantos from 1915 to 1970.
2
INTRODUCTION
  •  Pound, Ezra (1885-1972), American poet, critic,
    editor, and translator, considered one of the
    foremost American literary figures of the 20th
    century.
  • Pound was a chief architect of English and
    American literary modernism, a movement
    characterized by experimentation in literary form
    and content, exploration of the literary
    traditions of non-Western and ancient cultures,
    and rejection of the traditions of the immediate
    past.

3
INTRODUCTION
  • As a poet, Pound experimented with various verse
    forms, from short poems focusing on concrete
    images to his epic masterpiece, the Cantos, a
    wide-ranging series of poems combining ancient
    and modern history with
  • Pounds personal reflections and experiences. As
    a critic and editor, Pound discovered and
    encouraged many experimental authors, including
    Irish writer James Joyce, English poet T. S.
    Eliot, and American writers Robert Frost and
    Ernest Hemingway.
  • As an essayist, he wrote manifestos establishing
    influential principles of style and theme.

4
EARLY LIFE  
  • Ezra Loomis Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho. When
    he was still an infant, his family moved to
    Germantown, Pennsylvania. By age 15, Pound had
    decided to become a poet, resolving that by the
    age of 30 he would know more about poetry than
    any man living.
  • In 1901 he entered the University of
    Pennsylvania, where he befriended the future
    poets William Carlos Williams and Hilda
    Doolittle.
  • After two years he transferred to Hamilton
    College in New York State, and he graduated in
    1905.
  • He returned to the University of Pennsylvania for
    graduate studies in Romance languages, earning
    his M.A. degree.
  • Pound then taught languages for a brief time at
    Wabash College in Indiana.

5
EARLY LIFE  
  • Deciding that there was no place in the United
    States for poets, Pound moved to Europe, living
    first in Venice, Italy.
  • There he published his first volume of poetry, A
    Lume Spento (1908 translated, 1965).
  • Convinced that London was the place for poetry,
    he relocated there and worked as the secretary of
    Irish poet William Butler Yeats.

6
EARLY LIFE  
  • During his time in London, Pound supported
    himself by writing and teaching. He also served
    as the London representative for two American
    literary journals, the Chicago-based Poetry
    magazine and the New York City-based The Little
    Review.
  • On the lookout for writers who seemed dedicated
    to reinvigorating literature of the periodor in
    his words, making it newhe regularly sent some
    of the eras finest poems to be published in
    Poetry, notably T. S. Eliots The Love Song of
    J. Alfred Prufrock (1915).
  • Pound also edited early drafts of Eliots
    masterpiece The Waste Land (1922).

7
DEVELOPMENT AS A POET
  • In his own poetry and essays, Pound established
    principles that many modernist writers would
    follow.
  • Detesting what he called emotional slither, he
    demanded a harder and saner poetry that was
    nearer the bone than traditional verse, with
    fewer painted adjectives impeding the shock of
    it.
  • He warned poets, Go in fear of abstraction.
  • What was needed was direct treatment of the
    thing, whether subjective or objective, and
    rhythm that was in sequence of the musical
    phrase, not in the sequence of a metronome.

8
DEVELOPMENT AS A POET
  • In about 1909 Pound became the founder and, for a
    time, the leader of the school of poetry called
    imagism, featuring succinct verse which presents
    an intellectual and emotional complex in an
    instant of time.
  • Pounds own poetry of this period appeared in
    such volumes as Personae (1910), Cathay (1915),
    and Lustra (1916).

9
DEVELOPMENT AS A POET
  • American poet Amy Lowell eventually assumed
    leadership of the imagist movement, and Pound
    moved on to the vorticism movement.
  • Along with British artist and writer Wyndham
    Lewis, Pound attempted to invest dynamic energy
    in the poetic image, which he said was not an
    idea but a radiant node or clustera VORTEX,
    from which, and through which, and into which,
    ideas are constantly flowing.

10
DEVELOPMENT AS A POET
  • Pound considered the restoration of
    sophistication and historical richness to
    literature as a necessary and integral part of
    his commitment to innovation.
  • As a result he had a mixed view of American poet
    Walt Whitman, whom he admired for his
    experimental style but disliked for what he
    considered Whitmans lack of interest in cultural
    matters beyond America, and for his very
    infatuation with an America that had disappointed
    Pound.

11
DEVELOPMENT AS A POET
  • In such poems as A Pact (1916), Pound paid
    grudging respect to Whitman, calling him a
    pig-headed father but adding, It was you that
    broke the new wood, / Now it is time for the
    carving.
  • Part of this symbolic carving of a new literary
    tradition was the use of poetic devices from
    foreign languages.
  • To this end, Pound extensively translated poetry
    from the Provençal, Japanese, and Chinese
    languages.

12
DEVELOPMENT AS A POET
  • Around 1914, Pound conceived of a poetry sequence
    that would possess the sweep of Whitmans major
    volume of poetry, Leaves of Grass (1855 numerous
    revised editions), but would use modernist
    devices.
  • The result was the Cantos.
  • Written from 1915 to 1970, the Cantos eventually
    totaled 116 poems.

13
DEVELOPMENT AS A POET
  • Written in what Pound called the ideogrammatic
    method, featuring unexpected juxtapositions and
    associations, the various Cantos combined
    reminiscence, meditation, and allusions to many
    cultures, including Renaissance Italy, dynastic
    China, and 18th-century America.
  • Often difficult to understand, the Cantos are
    endlessly debated by scholars and are widely
    regarded as the 20th centurys closest
    approximation to a modern poetic epic.

14
POLITICAL ALIENATION
  • The devastation caused by World War I (1914-1918)
    deepened Pounds disillusion with the West, which
    he labeled a botched civilization.
  • His bitterness was visible in his satirical
    volume Hugh Selwyn Mauberly Life and Contacts
    (1920), which describes the tawdry cheapness
    and deterioration of a modern America Pound
    called a half-savage country.

15
POLITICAL ALIENATION
  • Believing that capitalism marginalized or
    excluded poets, Pound sought countries that he
    felt were more hospitable and left England in
    1920. He moved first to France and then to Italy,
    where in 1925 he settled in the village of
    Rappallo.
  • Pound saw Italys fascist dictator Benito
    Mussolini as a potential savior of the world from
    capitalism. In 1933 he met Mussolini, who praised
    his poetry. Pound became an active supporter of
    fascism, promoting it on radio broadcasts to
    England and the United States during World War II
    (1939-1945).
  • In anticapitalist and anti-Semitic speeches,
    Pound denounced those he held responsible for the
    Wests declinein particular, Jewish bankers.

16
POLITICAL ALIENATION
  • When the Allied troops occupied Italy in 1945
    near the end of World War II, Pound was
    imprisoned for weeks in an open-air cage.
  • After being transferred to a medical tent, he
    wrote the Pisan Cantos (1948), which consist of
    ten sections describing the prison, its
    environment, and its inhabitants.
  • Because of their vivid imagery and unity as a
    whole, these poems are regarded by some as his
    finest poems.
  • In 1946 Pound was taken to Washington, D.C., to
    be tried for treason.

17
POLITICAL ALIENATION
  • His trial was canceled after he was declared
    legally insane, and he entered a hospital for the
    criminally insane, where he continued to write
    and to receive visitors.
  • In 1949 Pounds Pisan Cantos won the first annual
    Library of Congress Bollingen Award for Poetry,
    reopening the debate over his literary stature.
  • Strongly defended by several prominent writers,
    including Hemingway, Frost, and Archibald
    MacLeish, Pound was released from the hospital in
    1958, and he returned to Italy.
  • Pound spent his final years in self-imposed
    literary silence, leaving the Cantos incomplete.

18
POLITICAL ALIENATION
  • Despite the reprehensible politics of his later
    life, Pound was an important poet and literary
    innovator who forged the way to modernism while
    retaining an allegiance to literary tradition.
  • Editions of Pounds writings include Make It New
    (1934), Polite Essays (1937), The Letters of Ezra
    Pound, 1907-1941 (1950), Literary Essays of Ezra
    Pound (1954), Collected Early Poems of Ezra Pound
    (1976), and Ezra Pound A Critical Anthology
    (1970).
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