Literature is news that stays news.

– Ezra Pound


born in Hailey, Idaho, The United States, October 30, 1885

died: November 01, 1972

gender: male

genre: PoetryNonfiction
Ezra Weston Loomis Pound was an American expatriate poet, critic and intellectual who was a major figure of the Modernist movement in early-to-mid 20th century poetry.

Pound’s The Cantos contains music and bears a title that could be translated as The Songs—although it never is. Pound’s ear was tuned to the motz et sons of troubadour poetry where, as musicologist John Stevens has noted, “melody and poem existed in a state of the closest symbiosis, obeying the same laws and striving in their different media for the same sound-ideal – armonia.”

In his essays, Pound wrote of rhythm as “the hardest quality of a man’s style to counterfeit.” He challenged young poets to train their ear with translation work to learn how the choice of words and the movement of the words combined. But having translated texts from 10 different languages into English, Pound found that translation did not always serve the poetry: “The grand bogies for young men who want really to learn strophe writing are Catullus and François Villon. I personally have been reduced to setting them to music as I cannot translate them.” While he habitually wrote out verse rhythms as musical lines, Pound did not set his own poetry to music.


6 thoughts on “Literature

  1. ‘April 18, 1958: Poet Ezra Pound was released from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for the Criminally Insane, 55 years ago today. He was arrested during World War II for making speeches on Italian radio in praise of fascism and anti-Semitism; friends and fellow poets like Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot deplored his actions but campaigned for his release.’

  2. Interesting commentary about Frost and Eliot campaigning for his freedom despite disagreeing with his philosophy. I admire that. 🙂

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