Ezra Pound

"The Cantos"

Published October 5, 2000 7:00PM (EDT)

Modernist poet Ezra Pound (b. 1885) is known for advancing the work of such contemporaries as William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, and especially T. S. Eliot. A proponent of Imagism, a movement derived from classical Chinese and Japanese poetry which stresses clarity and economy of language, Pound believed poetry should "compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of the metronome." His later work, focused on the encyclopedic epic poem he entitled "The Cantos" for which he was awarded the Bollingen-Library of Congress Award.

Pound is also known for his political controversy. In 1924 he moved to Italy and became involved in Fascist politics. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1945, he was arrested on charges of treason for broadcasting Fascist propaganda to the U.S. during WWII. Acquitted in 1946, Pound was declared mentally ill and committed to a hospital. After appeals from writers won his release in 1958, Pound returned to Italy where he settled in Venice and died a semi-recluse in 1972.

Listen to Ezra Pound read an excerpt from his epic poem, "The Cantos" from the release Ezra Pound Reads, courtesy of Caedmon/HarperCollins Audio.

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