Ezra Pound

The greatest biography of a writer I ever read is T.S. Eliot’s essay on Ezra Pound*, because Eliot is a remarkable poet himself. Ezra is charcterised accurately. Almost never as a poet, the world of literature almost never seems apparent. There is as much dynamism and self-determination in the events of Ezra Pound’s life as historians have written of Napoleon’s. Eliot writes of Mr. Pound as though following him through life like the Homeric gods would follow Odysseus. Eliot presents Pound so much more accurately because he includes so many primary sources of criticism against him, and in reading through them you come to understand that there was never any defect to his success by such criticisms, on the contrary, they held him as a man to be reckoned with, as a man who continues not to stop at making everything stable unstable. Eliot creates Ezra’s life force. And we understand him from the theatre seats, with the same admiration of watching a fine performance of a Shakespearean tragedy. Here is a man ceaseless in talent and ideas, who will thrust forward himself with these ideas in hand causing a commotion he did not intend, but is inevitable. Ezra publicly had something to say about everything, and he was a great scholar of his subject, he knew what was beneficial and what was harmful to it, and always kept this sense about him. Ezra Pound was a figure who always held himself as an authority of his own. What he knew he gave himself the authority to speak of it. What he had done he gave himself the authority to display. In none of this was he a misfit or a charlatan, he was no adolescent libertine, or decadent punk. His authority was at the summits of some great Olympia which he daily conversed with those others of great aptitude and had once said “Pay no attention to the criticisms of men who have never / themselves written a notable work.”

*Ezra Pound: His Metric and Poetry by T.S Eliot



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