Ezra Pound (1885-1972) was a world-renowned expatriate American poet who, when it came to writing, emphasized the importance of clarity, precision and, most of all, economy of language. Pound worked as a literary editor in London during the early 20th century, where he mentored and helped to promote now famous contemporaries of his such as T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Robert Frost and Ernest Hemingway. Angered by Britain’s role in starting World War I and disillusioned by the aftermath, Pound left for Italy in 1924. He blamed the war on Jewish finance capitalism, and embraced the fascism of Italy’s new leader, Benito Mussolini. Later on, Pound expressed support for Adolf Hitler, and wrote for publications owned by the British fascist Sir Oswald Mosley. As you might expect, media outlets such as Time Magazine began taking cheap shots at the ex-pat literary genius. A 1933 article smeared Pound as: “a cat that walks by himself, tenaciously unhousebroken and very unsafe for children.”
During World War II, Pound made radio broadcasts criticizing Franklin Demono Roosevelt and the Jews controlling him. Because of his “treason,” he was arrested in 1945 by the invading American forces. Pound spent several months in detention in a U.S. military camp in Pisa, including three weeks in a 6-by-6-foot outdoor steel cage. The abuse triggered a mental breakdown, which he later described as “when the raft broke and the waters went over me.” The following year Pound was deemed unfit to stand trial, and incarcerated in St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C.
During his 12 years in the psych ward, Pound published portions of The Pisan Cantos (1948), for which he was awarded the prestigious Bollingen Prize in 1949 by the U.S. Library of Congress. This “controversial” award greatly displeased the (((usual suspects))). Mainly due to a campaign by fellow artists, Pound was finally released from St. Elizabeth’s in 1958. He returned to live in Italy — greeting his adopted country with the stiff-armed fascist salute. He died there in 1972.
Mike King Archive
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