Posts Tagged ‘Benito Mussolini’

“How do you account for Ezra?,” W. B. Yeats once famously asked. Indeed, how do you? How account for the man who edited the Waste Land, brought the classical Chinese poets into English (see this stunning translation), and who wrote a foot-thick epic studded with lines like these?

A blown husk that is finished/but the light sings eternal/a pale flare over marshes/where the salt hay whispers to tide’s change

You can’t really. (And that’s not even mentioning Mussolini, tiger cages, treason trials). But there’s a new Selected out from Faber, and it looks good. The accounting continues.

Ezra Pound Great Modernist Poet Wanted

–Must write the most ambitious, technically accomplished long poem of twentieth century.
–Must edit The Waste Land into masterpiece.
–Must pick Joyce, Eliot, Hemingway, H. D. and Williams as winners when everyone else thinks they’re losers.


— Must not publicly support MussoliniItalian Fascism, or other dreadful politics
— Must especially not broadcast over the radio for the enemy during wartime
— O do not, do not, get yourself charged with treason
— And finally, please, please, do not get yourself declared insane and spend twelve years in an asylum
— Etc.