Pound, Ezra (Loomis)


Pound, Ezra (Loomis)

biographical name

(born Oct. 30, 1885, Hailey, Idaho, U.S.—died Nov. 1, 1972, Venice, Italy) U.S. poet and critic. Pound attended Hamilton College and the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied various languages. In 1908 he sailed for Europe, where he would spend most of his life. He soon became a leader of Imagism and a dominant influence in Anglo-American verse, helping promote writers such as William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, Hilda Doolittle, Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost, D.H. Lawrence, and T.S. Eliot, whose The Waste Land he brilliantly edited. After World War I he published two of his most important poems, “Homage to Sextus Propertius” (1919) and “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” (1920). He also began publishing The Cantos, an attempt at an epic sequence of poems, which would remain his major poetic occupation throughout his life. With the onset of the Great Depression, he increasingly pursued his interest in history and economics, became obsessed with monetary reform, and declared his admiration for Benito Mussolini. In World War II he made pro-fascist radio broadcasts; detained by U.S. forces for treason in 1945, he was initially held at Pisa; The Pisan Cantos (1948, Bollingen Prize), written there, are notably moving. He was subsequently held in an American mental hospital until 1958, when he returned to Italy. The Cantos (1970) collects his 117 completed cantos.

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