Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Ezra MFing Pound

Over the last two months for various reasons I've had a number of days of waiting rooms, office visits with doctors and other health professionals, and time to read, since I cannot work in the deadzone of public space.  In such time I've read a couple dozen books, mostly poetry, and mostly about or by Ezra Pound.  1933 Time magazine called Pound "a cat that walks by himself, tenaciously unhousebroken and very unsafe for children."

While it would be true to suggest that I go in bursts of interest in subjects, this person, Ezra Pound has captured me.  He was a naive midwestern poet, outspoken, found his peers among outsiders and people from other countries, and when he witnessed the travesties of the First World war he cracked.  He began to search for the inner workings of why men go to war, and deduced, wrongly or rightly, that it came from the people who own most of the world desiring to own more of it.  He saw bankers and by extension Jewish bankers and Jews in general as being responsible, and when FDR was unable to immediately rescue the economy, he believed that the US would use war as a means of reviving the economy.  He believed that the fascist nations were organizing labor to fairly distribute the wealth, and had to be powerful to keep the capitalists out.  His personal hero changed from the founding fathers of America to Benito Mussolini, the leader of Fascist Italy.  And when war came, as Pound surmised, he cracked again, believing the West to be acting to steal the opportunity to renew their economies, while using the Fascists as convenient enemies.

I point this all out so that no thinks I am reading Pound and thinking him perfect.  But his views outside of the treason, his poetry, his outlook on society, in general, he burned with a fire that I admire.  And his treason trial ended up breaking Pound.  First he was held in cages where the setting made him "go mad" and then in a Mental Hospital cell prior to being taken to court for treason for activities by a citizen against the US, he was found to be Insane/Mentally Ill.  He was a person who given enough rope would hang himself.  He had very little filter between his views and his ability to speak.  And if an audience was present, he availed himself of that time to share his thoughts.

There are poetry critics who cannot separate the poem from the treasonous person.  They see him as a bad human being, and not worthy of artistic excellence and consideration.  And then there are people like me, who will be called apologists, because we try to understand why he became what he did.  His views were repented, late in life, and especially so the anti Semitism.  But once you've been bad, some people believe you are always stained.  And so there it is.

Anyhow, I am going to share some of his quotes, with images of his books, his face, and the cages that changed him.  Look closely, you might be looking at my future.  OK, I hope not, but who knows.

“I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
Forever and forever and forever.”


“Good art however "immoral" is wholly a thing of virtue. Good art can not be immoral. By good art I mean art that bears true witness, I mean the art that is most precise.”

“Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing. The rest is mere sheep herding.”  

“Nothing written for pay is worth printing. Only what has been written against the market.” 

“It ought to be illegal for an artist to marry. If the artist must marry let him find someone more interested in art, or his art, or the artist part of him, than in him. After which let them take tea together three times a week.” 

“Any general statement is like a cheque drawn on a bank. Its value depends on what is there to meet it.”

"All great art is born of the metropolis."
All great art is born of the metropolis.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/ezrapound379925.html
All great art is born of the metropolis.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/ezrapound379925.html

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