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Ezra Pound

poet, etc.

Ezra Pound

Ezra Loomis Pound was born on October 30, 1885, in Hailey, Idaho, and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the age of 12 he entered Cheltenham, a military school, where he learned Greek and Latin. He went on to study languages at the University of Pennsyvlania (1903-1905), and to receive his Bachelor of Philosophy degree from Hamilton College (1905), and his Master of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania (1906). In 1907 he began teaching at Wabash College (a Presbyterian school) in Crawfordsville, Indiana, but left for Europe in 1908, living successively in London, Paris, and Venice.

Synopsis of His Literary Career

Pound's first book of poetry, A Lume Spento, was privately printed and distributed in Venice, Italy, in 1908. His first important work, however, was Ripostes of Ezra Pound, which was published in 1912. This volume contained five imagist poems by T.E. Hulme and its appearance was regarded as the beginning of the imagist movement. This movement's manifesto promised: "1. Direct treatment of the 'thing' whether subject 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 musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome."

Pound is probably best remembered for his monumental work Cantos, published in ten sections between 1925 and 1969, and then in a one-volume collected edition as The Cantos of Ezra Pound I-CXVII in 1970. In this work Pound traced the rise and fall of Eastern and Western empires, with special emphasis on what he saw as the destructive role of materialism and greed, along with the corruption he saw developing in American life.

In addition to more than 30 volumes of poetry, Pound also authored some 30 works of prose. He also translated several European and Chinese works into English, and one work from Chinese into Italian.

Personal Life

In 1914, Pound married artist Dorothy Shakespear, who bore him a son, Omar, in 1926. In 1922 he started a relationship with violinist Olga Rudge, who bore him a daughter five months before Omar's birth. Despite his unfaithfulness and other faults, Dorothy stayed by his side throughout his life.

Admiration for Fascism

While living in Italy, Pound became an admirer of the Fascist rule of Benito Mussolini. He also agreed with those who believed that the economic system was being exploited by Jewish financiers. During World War II, he broadcast Fascist propaganda to United States via radio.

Mental Committment

In 1943 Pound was indicted by the United States for treason because of his radio broadcasts during the war. He was arrested near Genoa by U.S. troops in May 1945, and returned to the U.S. to stand trial. Judged not guilty due to insanity in 1946, he spent 12 years in a Washington, D.C. mental hospital. He returned to Italy upon his release in 1958.

In 1949, the Library of Congress chose to overlook Pound's support of Fascism and hospitalization to award him its Bollingen Prize for Pisan Cantos.

Ezra Pound died in Venice, Italy, on November 1, 1972.


A Lume Spento (1908)
A Quinzaine for This Yule (1908)
Exultations (1909)
Provenca (1910)
Canzoni (1911)
Ripostes of Ezra Pound (1912)
Personae and Exultations of Ezra Pound (1913)
Canzoni and Ripostes of Ezra Pound
Lustra of Ezra Pound (1916)
Quia Pauper Amavi (1918)
The Fourth Canto (1919)
Umbra (1920)
Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920)
Poems, 1918-1921
A Draft of XVI Cantos (1925)
Personae: The Collected Poems of Ezra Pound (1926)
Selected Poems (1928)
A Draft of the Cantos 17-27 (1928)
A Draft of XXX Cantos (1930)
Homage to Sextus Propertius (1934)
Eleven New Cantos: XXXI-XLI (1934)
Alfred Venison's Poems: Social Credit Themes (1935)
The Fifth Decade of Cantos (1937)
Cantos LII-LXXI (1940)
A Selection of Poems (1940)
The Pisan Cantos (1948)
Selected Poems (1949)
Personnae: The Collected Poems of Ezra Pound
Seventy Cantos (1950)
Section Rock-Drill, 85-95 de los Cantares (1955)
Thrones: 96-109 de los Cantares (1959)
The Cantos (1-109) (1964)
The Cantos (1-95) (1965)
A Lume Spento, and Other Early Poems (1965)
Selected Cantos (1967)
Drafts and Fragments of Cantos CX-CXVII (1968)
The Cantos of Ezra Pound I-CXVII (1970)


The Spirit of Romance (1910)
Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir Including the Published Writings of the Sculptor and a Selection from His Letters
Noh; or, Accomplishment: A Study of the Classical Stage of Japan (1916)
Pavannes and Divisions (1918)
Instigations of Ezra Pound, Together with an Essay on the Chinese Written Character by Ernest Fenollosa (1920)
Indiscretions (1923)
Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony (1924)
Imaginary Letters (1930)
How to Read (1931)
ABC of Economics (1933)
ABC of Reading (1934)
Make It New (1934)
Social Credit: An Impact (1935)
Jefferson and/or Mussolini
Polite Essays
Culture (1938)
What Is Money For? (1939)
Carla da Visita [A Visiting Card] (1942)
L'America, Roosevelt e le Cause della Guerra Presente [America, Roosevelt and the Causes of the Present War] (1944)
Introduzione alla Natura Economica degli S.U.A. [An Introduction to the Economic Nature of the United States] (1944)
Oro e Lavoro [Gold and Work] (1944)
Orientamenti (1944)
"If This Be Treason..." (1948)
The Letters of Ezra Pound, 1907-1941 (1950)
Patricia Mia (1950)
Literary Essays of Ezra Pound (1954)
Lavoro ed Usura (1954)
Brancusi (1957)
Pavannes and Divagations (1958)
Impact: Essays on Ignorance and the Decline of American Civilization (1960)
EP to LU: Nine Letters Written to Louis Untermeyer (1963)
Pound/Joyce: The Letters of Ezra Pound to James Joyce (1967)


The Sonnets and Ballate of Guido Cavalcanti (1912)
Selections from Collection Yvette Guilbert
Certain Noh Plays of Japan
Twelve Dialogues of Fontenelle (1917)
The Troubadour Sings (1920)
Remy de Gourmount, The Natural Philosophy of Love (1922)
Confucius, To Hio: The Great Learning (1928)
Confucius: Digest of the Analects (1937)
Odon Por, Italy's Policy of Social Economics, 1930-1940 (1941)
Ta S'eu Dai Gaku Studio Integrale [translated into Italian] (1942)
The Great Digest and The Unwobbling Pivot (1951)
Confucius, Analects (1951)
The Translations of Ezra Pound (1953)
The Classic Anthology, Defined by Confucius (1954)
Richard of St. Victor, Pensieri sull'amore (1956)
Enrico Pea, Moscardino (1956)
Sophocles, Women of Tiachis (1956)
Rimbaud (1957)
Love Poems of Ancient Egypt (1962)

Edited Works

Des Imagistes (1914)
Catholic Anthology, 1914-1915 (1915)
Passages from the Letters of John Butler Yeats (1917)
Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time (1924)
The Collected Poems of Harry Crosby (1931)
Guido Cavalcanti, Rime (1932)
Profiles (1932)
Active Anthology (1933)
Ernest Fenollosa, The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry (1935)
Confucius to Cummings: An Anthology of Poetry (1964)

World War II

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The Robinson Library >> Linguistics, Languages, and Literatures >> American Literature >> 1900-1960

This page was last updated on 10/29/2017.