Ezra Pound

Richard Taruskin

in The Danger of Music and Other Anti-Utopian Essays

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780520249776
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942790 | DOI:
Ezra Pound

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This chapter discusses the work of Ezra Pound and his contribution to the world of music. Ezra Weston Loomis Pound was an American expatriate poet and critic and a major figure in the early modernist movement in poetry. The career of no other artist, perhaps, so nakedly exposes the fineness of the line dividing crackpot from genius. Pound's crackpot theories of social, racial, and economic justice famously landed him in a mental hospital after World War II. He loved playing the fool, describing his esthetic theories, the authentic fruit of his genius, in a semiliterate patois familiar to anyone who has read his letters or scanned the titles of his essays. And those theories drove him to compose music despite a confessed inability—vouched for by his fellow poets William Carlos Williams and W. B. Yeats, among others—to carry a tune. Pound's musical experiments were a by-product of his studies in poetic versification. “The grand bogies for young men who want really to learn strophe writing”—that is, composition in strict forms—”are Catullus and Villon.”

Keywords: Ezra Pound; poetry; Catullus; W. B. Yeats; Pound's magnum opus

Chapter.  2086 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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