ezra pound (1885 – 1972)


Ezra Pound was born on October 30th, 1885 in Hailey, Idaho, and grew up in Wyncott, Pennysylvania. After a parenthesis at the military college of Cheltenham, he joined (si iscrisse all’) the University of Pennysylvania where he met the  poet William Carlos Williams, and had an adolescent love story with Hilda Doolittle (known as HD). He graduated in 1905 and got a Master of Arts in English Literature and Romance Poetry, at the age of 21. He visited Spain and in 1907;  back to America, he started teaching French and Spanish at Wabash College in Indiana.  He also  travelled first to Italy, where he published his first book of verse In Lume Spento (1908, 23) and in London he befriended (fece amicizia con) W. B. Yeats. Between 1908 (23) and 1911 (26) Pound published six volumes of verse, mainly in the “mediaeval”  style of Robert Browning and the Pre Raphaelites.  Under the influence of contemporary poets Ford Madox Ford and T.E. Hulme, he became a moving force in the avant-garde arts. He took part in Imagism and in the Vorticist movements, and worked  with the poet T.S. Eliot. He also became literary executor to Ernest Fenellosa, and published his own free translations from Chinese, Cathay, in  1915. In those years he could better define his ‘imagist’ poetic method. In 1914 he married Dorothy Shakespear. Other publications followed: To Sextus Propertius (1919) and Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1921). In Paris, he met the violinist Olga Rudge, who gave him a child. In 1924 he  moved to Rapallo in Italy where he wrote Cantos;  the first section was published in 1925. He showed his interest in economic matters: he thought he had found a remedy to the evils of free capitalism in the theories of Major C.H. Douglas and hoped to influence Mussolini. During the Second World War he made a series of 120 broadcasts (trasmissioni) on Rome radio to Allied troops (truppe alleate), defending fascism
Arrested in Pisa  in 1944,  he was repatriated to the United States, where he avoided trial (evitò processo) because he was declared insane (malato di mente) and sent to the St Elizabeth Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where he remained until 1958. Here he wrote: The Pisan Cantos (1948), Rock Drill (1955) and Thrones (1959), and also a series of translations from the Confucian classics.
In 1958  he returned to Italy, where he died in 1972.

In a station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough

Note
Bough: branch of a tree.

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