Ezra Weston Loomis Pound is known as Ezra Pound in the literary world. He was born on the 30th of October in 1885 in Hailey, Idaho. His father was Loomis Pound, a federal land office official, and his mother was Isabel Pound. As the only child of Loomis and Isabel, he enjoyed the bliss of childhood. Unfortunately, his father died in 1942, and his mother, too, left him in 1948.
Ezra was educated in private institutions from Dame Schools and Miss Elliott’s school in Jenkintown in 1892, Florence Ridpath School in 1894, and then Chelten Hills School in Wyncote in 1893. He was among the best heads of those times and turned towards writing at a very young age. His first publication appeared in November 1896 in Jenkintown Times-Chronicle. Later. Between 1897-1900 he was enrolled at Cheltenham Military Academy, where he learned the importance of authority along with military drill and shooting. Also, he learned Latin from the same institute. After leaving the academy, he attended the University of Pennsylvania‘s College of Liberal Arts in 1991 and completed his graduation, followed by his master’s degree in 1906. During his stay at university, he met various literary figures. After completing his education, he started teaching Spanish and French at Wabash College, Indiana.
Marriage and Tragedy
While studying at the University of Pennsylvania, he met Hilda Doolittle in 1901. Hilda became his first serious romance. Together they flew to London and helped each other in literary pursuits. He wrote several poems for her, which he later hand-bound and termed the collection as Hilda’s book. He requested her father in 1907 to marry her. Hilda’s father refused. Later, Ezra approached two other charming ladies, Viola Baxter and Mary Moore, at that time. Unfortunately, Mary Moore also rejected him. Later, in 1909, he met Olivia Shakespeare, a novelist and her daughter Dorothy who later became his wife in 1914. Soon after marriage, he met W. B. Yeats, a great poet and playwright, and a painter Wyndham Lewis and many other literary figures of that time. Besides, he spent a good part of his life in flirting with Olga Rudge, a popular singer of her time, whom he met during his stay in France in 1922. In fact, his meetings with these influential literary figures further accelerated his writing career.
Ezra Pound, a great writer, and critic, faced severe health issues during the last eleven years of his life. Despite facing these issues, he never gave up on life and traveled to Dublin, New York, and London from 1965 to 1967. In 1972, he became completely bedridden and died of an intestinal blockage on the 1st of November in 1972. Ezra was buried at Isola di San Michele.
Some Important Facts of His Life
- Ezra Pound became a published poet at the age of eleven when his first poem, The Limerick got published in a local newspaper in 1896.
- This great critic and writer created several neologisms in English, such as “logopoeia” and “periplum.”
- Despite enjoying unbound success and international recognition, He was charged with treason in 1945.
Ezra Pound, a leading figure of the 20th century, successfully established his career; first as a poet and later as a critic. He became a published poet at a very young age in 1896 in Jenkintown Times-Chronicle. During his educational career, he studied nine languages including, Spanish, French, old English Romance languages, and Provencal dialect. The knowledge of these languages added colors to his unique writing style. During his stay in American, he compiled his first poetry book, A Lume Spento, but failed to get it published.
Therefore, he traveled to London for its publication where Elkin Mathews published his collection, but it failed to win popularity. However, this publication brought him into the limelight. Later, in 1908, he came up with another publication, A Quinzaine for This Yule’. His meeting with Olivia Shakespeare proved to success. The literary circle of London welcomed him, and various great figures came to applaud him, such as Wyndham Lewis, a painter, T. E. Hulme, a poet, and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, a sculptor. During that time, he started imagism movement with the collaboration of Hilda Doolittle and Aldington. Besides poetry, he also penned great articles and letters.
Ezra pound stands among the most influential figures of the 20th century. His concise writing style and unique ideas added a lot to the world of English literature. This versatility can be seen in his epic poem “Cantos” that exhibits the mixture of essays, elegies, hymns, and satire. Marked by heavy use of imagery, symbolism, free verse, and dramatic lyricism, his writings won global recognition. He was also the co-founder of imagism movement that emphasizes the use of precise language to craft sharp and clear images in poetry. The use of Haiku, a Japanese poetic form and ideogrammic method, and the Chinese poetic form made his writing stand unique. Since he is considered the most important modernist poet, his pieces fail to follow conventional forms and discursiveness typical of Victorian and Romantic poets. Rather, he believes that the individuality of a poet is expressed better through free verse. The recurring themes in most of his writings are memoirs, culture, art, society, governance, and economics.
- Best poems: He was an outstanding poet. Some of his best poems include: “In a Station of the Metro”, “The Cantos”, “The Seafarer”, “Ballad of the Goodly Fere”, “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” and “The Return.”
- Other Works: Besides poetry, he tried his hands on prose and nonfiction. Some of them include ABC of Economics, Digest of the Analects, Instigations, Literary Essays, and Make it New.
Ezra Pound’s Impacts on Future Literature
Ezra Pound is a well-known modernist poet and critic who became popular during his lifetime. His highly intellectual and technical literary pieces won applause from the audience and fellow poets. His literary qualities and interests in literature have helped him change the standard conventional practices prevalent in poetry at that time. With the use of Chinese and Japanese poetic forms, he brought more variety to the world of literature. Also, he had had a significant influence on most of the literary figures of his time. He employed the language of common people in his texts to create a concentrated image and new rhythms in his poetry. He successfully presented his ideas and knowledge of world literature in his writings that even today, writers try to imitate his unique style, considering him a beacon for writing prose and poetry.
- “The apparition of these faces in the crowd
Petals on a wet, black bough.” (In a Station of the Metro)
- “I will not spoil my sheath with lesser brightness,
For my surrounding air hath a new lightness;” (A Virginal)
- “Moves, yes she moves like a goddess
And has the face of a god
And the voice of Schoeney’s daughters
And doom goes with her in walking.” (Canto II)