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Ezra Pound

(1885—1972) poet

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American poet, came to Europe in 1908 and published his first volume of poems, A Lume Spento (1908). He published several other volumes of verse, including Personae (1909), Canzoni (1911), Ripostes (1912), and Lustra (1916). Together with F. S. Flint, R. Aldington, and Hilda Doolittle he founded the Imagist school of poets; in 1914 he edited Des Imagistes: An Anthology. Pound also championed the Modernist work of avant‐garde writers and artists like Joyce, W. Lewis, Gaudier‐Brzeska, and T. S. Eliot. Further volumes of poetry include Quia Pauper Amavi (1919, which contains ‘Homage to Sextus Propertius’) and Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920). Pound was now increasingly turning away from the constrictions of Imagism, and finding freedom partly through translations; his early volumes had contained adaptations from Provençal and early Italian, a version of the Old English The Seafarer, and in 1915 Cathay, translations from the Chinese of Li Po. Pound was thus moving towards the rich, grandly allusive, multicultural world of the Cantos, his most ambitious achievement; the first three Cantos appeared in 1917 in Poetry. In 1920 Pound left London for Paris; in 1925 he settled permanently in Rapallo. The Cantos appeared intermittently over the next decades until the appearance of the final Drafts and Fragments of Cantos CX to CXVII (1970).

In Italy Pound became increasingly preoccupied with economics and embraced Social Credit theories. His own interpretation of these theories led him into anti‐Semitism and at least partial support for Mussolini's social programme. During the Second World War he broadcast over the Italian radio: in 1945 he was arrested at Genoa, then sent to a US Army Disciplinary Training Centre near Pisa, a period which produced the much‐admired Pisan Cantos (1948). He was then moved to Washington, found unfit to plead, and confined to a mental institution; he was released in 1958 and returned to Italy, where he died.

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