With the vers libre of Cathay, T. S. Eliot famously observed, Pound had become “the inventor of Chinese poetry for our time.”

Richard Sieburth

Ezra Pound

A biography of Ezra Pound (1885–1972), in his own words, as published in the 1949 edition of Selected Poems of Ezra Pound, the same year he was awarded the Bollingen Prize by the Library of Congress:


Born, Hailey, Idaho, 30 Oct. 1885. Educ. U. of Penn. and Hamilton. PhB. ‘05. M.A. ‘06.

Published. 1908. Venice; A Lume Spento.

1909, Mathews, London. Personae, Exultations. Thereafter some 40 volumes, in London till 1920. N. York 1920–‘30. 1930 onwards, with Faber, London, and in U.S.

1918 began investigation of causes of war, to oppose same. Lectured in the Università Bocconi, Milan, 1931, on Jefferson and Van Buren.

From 1932 continual polemic in two languages, moving from Social Credit to Gesellism.

Obtaining imprint in Italy of Social Credit and Gesellite doctrines, comparing them with Catholic canonist theory and local practice.

1939 first visit to U.S. since 1910 in endeavour to stave off war. D.Litt, honorary, from Hamilton.

1940 after continued opposition obtained permission to use Rome radio for personal propaganda in support of U.S. Constitution, continuing after America’s official entry into the war only on condition that he should never be asked to say anything contrary to his conscience or contrary to his duties as an American Citizen. Which promise was faithfully observed by the Italian Government.

A crucial architect of literary Modernism, American poet Ezra Pound (1885–1972) looms over 20th-century cultural history.

In the early teens of the 20th century, he was the heart of a seminal network, exchanging ideas between American and British authors. In 1912 he was hired as a regular contributor to Harriet Moore’s Poetry and wrote as well for Wyndham Lewis’s BLAST. From 1917 he was the London editor of The Little Review. Pound coined Imagism, a school of poetry in part derived from the clarity and economy of classical Japanese and Chinese poetry and he generously promoted writers such as Marianne Moore, H.D., Yeats, Joyce, Hemingway, Wlliam Carlos Williams, and T.S. Eliot. By the 1920s, he was actively promulgating the notion of one world of literature, encouraging translation from around the globe and across millenia. He himself translated extensively and is a noted and notably pithy essayist (see ABC of Reading, Guide to Kulchur, The Classic Noh Theater of Japan, et al). His own work culminated in the monumental Cantos, an encyclopedic mastepiece of great poetic beauty.

Born in Hailey, Idaho, Pound attended the University of Pennlsyvania, where he met his lifelong friends William Carlos Williams and Hilda Doolitle (or H.D., as he suggested she sign her poems). In 1908 he set off for Europe, and published at his own expense, A lume spento, his first book. He followed with Exultations (1909), Personae (1909), Provenca (1910), Canzoni (1911), Lustra and Other Poems (1917), Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920), Umbra: Collected Poems (1920), Cantos I–XVI (1925), A Draft of XXX Cantos (1930), Homage to Sextus Propertius (1934), The Fifth Decade of Cantos (1937), Cantos LII-LXXI (1940), The Pisan Cantos (1948), Patria Mia (1950), and The Cantos (1972).

In 1914 Pound married Dorothy Shakespear and in 1921 moved to Italy. There he became engaged in Fascist politics, and for his radio propaganda against the United States during the war, he was arrested for treason in 1945. In 1946 he was declared mentally ill and committed to St Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he was held for a dozen years. Despite his political crimes, he was awarded The Bollingen Prize for his 1948 Pisan Cantos. After a lengthy campaign by fellow writers and his publisher James Laughlin of New Directions, he was released in 1958, returned to Italy, settled in Venice and into near complete silence, and died in 1972.

cover image of the book Cathay


by Ezra Pound

With a contribution by Mary de Rachewiltz

First published in 1915, Cathay, Ezra Pound’s early monumental work, originally contained fourteen translations from the Chinese and a translation of the Anglo-Saxon poem “The Seafarer.” In 1916, Cathay was reprinted in Pound’s book Lustra without “The Seafarer” and with four more Chinese poems.

Cathay was greatly indebted to the notes of Ernest Fenollosa, a Harvard-trained scholar. “In Fenollosa’s Chinese poetry materials,” the noted scholar Zhaoming Qian writes, “Pound discovered a new model that at once mirrored and challenged his developing poetics.” This centennial edition reproduces the text of the original publication along with the added poems from Lustra and transcripts of the relevant Fenollosa notes and Chinese texts. Also included is a new foreword by Ezra Pound’s daughter Mary de Rachewitz, rich with fascinating background material on this essential work of Pound’s oeuvre.

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cover image of the book New Selected Poems & Translations

New Selected Poems & Translations

This newly revised and greatly expanded edition of Ezra Pound’s Selected Poems is intended to articulate Pound for the twenty-first century. Gone are many of the “stale creampuffs” (as Pound called them) of the 1949 edition. Instead, new emphasis has been laid on the interpenetration of original composition and translation within Pound’s career. New features of this edition include the complete “Homage to Sextus Propertius” in its original lineation, early translations from Cavalcanti, Heine, and the troubadours, as well as late translations of Sophocles, and the Confucian Odes. As a lifelong expatriate, Pound parceled out his work to a variety of journals in England, America, France, and Italy. This new edition takes account of this complex publishing history by giving the poems in the chronological order of their original magazine publication. We can observe Pound as he first emerged onto the literary scene in the pages of Ford Madox Ford’s English Review and Harriet Monroe’s Chicago-based Poetry, and then as an agent provocateur for the avant-garde Little Review, Blast, and The Dial. Unlike all previous selections, this volume provides annotation to all the early poems as well as a running commentary on the later Cantos – indispensable to any reader wanting to follow Pound on his epic odyssey through ancient China, medieval Provence, the Italian Renaissance, the early American Republic, and the darkness of the twentieth century. The editor, Richard Sieburth, provides a chronology of Pound’s life, a new preface, and an informative afterword, “Selecting Pound.” Also included in the appendix are T. S. Eliot’s and John Berryman’s original introductions to Pound’s Selected Poems.

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cover image of the book ABC of Reading

ABC of Reading

This important work, first published in 1934, is a concise statement of Pound’s aesthetic theory. It is a primer for the reader who wants to maintain an active, critical mind and become increasingly sensitive to the beauty and inspiration of the world’s best literature. With characteristic vigor and iconoclasm, Pound illustrates his precepts with exhibits meticulously chosen from the classics, and the concluding “Treatise on Meter” provides an illuminating essay for anyone aspiring to read and write poetry. ABC of Reading displays Pound’s great ability to open new avenues in literature of our time.

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cover image of the book The Spirit Of Romance

The Spirit Of Romance

Dating from 1910 and subtitled “An Attempt to Define Somewhat the Charm of the Pre-Renaissance Literature of Latin Europe," The Spirit of Romance is one of the key books in Ezra Pound’s revaluation of literary tradition. Pound gives us first the background of the transition from Latin to the Romance languages, then deals with the Provençal Troubadors, notably Arnaut Daniel; the medieval narrative poetry of Northern France; the Chanson de Roland; Dante and his precursors, such as Guinizelli and Cavalcanti; the Spanish epic of El Cid; Villon; Renaissance Latin poets; the plays of Lope de Vega; and Camoens’ Portuguese epic The Lusiads.

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cover image of the book The Pisan Cantos

The Pisan Cantos

Ezra Pound’s The Pisan Cantos were written in 1945, while the poet was being held in an American military detention center near Pisa, Italy, as a result of his pro-Fascist wartime broadcasts to America on Radio Rome. Imprisoned for some weeks in a wire cage open to the elements, Pound suffered a nervous collapse from the physical and emotional strain. Out of the agony of his own inferno came the eleven cantos that became the sixth hook of his modernist epic, The Cantos, itself conceived as a Divine Comedy for our time. The Pisan Cantos were published in 1948 by New Directions and in the following year won the Bollingen Prize for poetry, awarded by the Library of Congress. The honor came amid violent controversy, for the dark cloud of treason still hung over Pound, now incarcerated in Washington’s St. Elizabeths Federal Hospital for the Insane. Yet there is no doubt that The Pisan Cantos display some of the finest and most affecting writing in his long poem, marking an elegaic turn to the personal while synthesizing the philosophical, economic, and political themes of his previous cantos. They are now available for the first time as a separate paperbook, in this fully annotated edition prepared by Richard Sieburth, who also contributes a thoroughgoing introduction, making Pound’s masterwork fully accessible at last to students and general readers.

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cover image of the book The Cantos Of Ezra Pound

The Cantos Of Ezra Pound

Now available for the first time in paperback, The Cantos is the most important epic poem of the twentieth century. Delmore Schwartz said about The Cantos: “They are one of the touchstones of modern poetry.” William Carlos Williams said: “Pound discloses history by its odor, by the feel of it––in the words; fuses it with the words, present and past, to MAKE his Cantos. Make them.” Since the 1969 revised edition, the Italian Cantos LXXII and LXXIII (as well as a 1966 fragment concluding the work) have been added. Pound’s recently found English translation of Italian Canto LXXII was first included in 1996.

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cover image of the book Pound/ Williams: Selected Correspondence of Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams (The Correspondence of Ezra Pound)

Pound/ Williams: Selected Correspondence of Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams (The Correspondence of Ezra Pound)

Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, two towering figures in American poetry, began their lifelong, and often contentious, friendship as students at the University of Pennsylvania. Their correspondence ran from 1907, the year Pound took up his virtually permanent residence in Europe, until Williams’ death in 1963. The letters contribute an unparalleled documentary record of modern culture - a wealth of information about the lives and works of the two poets themselves; the literary and political movements in which they became involved and the impact of public events upon the arts; the activities of other writers and artists; and the world of small presses and little magazines that nourished the growth of modernism.

Pound/Williams contains 169 letters selected from the poets’ surviving correspondence, each letter reproduced in full and accompanied by explanatory notes. Historical introductions place each of the live chronological groupings of letters into context, and a biographical glossary identifies persons prominently mentioned.

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cover image of the book Diptych Rome-London

Diptych Rome-London

Diptych Rome-London presents the two undisputed masterpieces of Pound’s pre-Cantos work––the long poems “Homage to Sextus Propertius” and “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley.” Created in the aftermath of World War I, the poems ironically consider the place of the artist in “a botched civilization.” “Homage to Sextus Propertius” (1917) is a free translation from the Latin, an homage to the Roman poet; praising its “enormous freedom and range of tone,” Hugh Kenner remarked that “few more original poems exist in English.” “Hugh Selwyn Mauberly” (1920) is described in A. Walton Litz’s clear and helpful introduction as a “master document of literary modernism.” It was also T.S. Eliot’s favorite Pound poem: “I am quite certain of ’Mauberley,’ whatever else I am certain of… a great poem, a document of an epoch.”

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cover image of the book A Walking Tour In Southern France

A Walking Tour In Southern France

Rummaging through his papers in 1958, Ezra Pound came across a cache of notebooks dating back to the summer of 1912, when as a young man he had walked the troubadour landscape of southern France. Pound had been fascinated with the poetry of medieval Provence since his college days. His experiments with the complex lyric forms of Amaut Daniel, Bertran de Born, and others were included in his earliest books of poems; his scholarly pursuits in the field found their way into The Spirit of Romance (1910); and the troubadour mystique was to become a resonant motif of the Cantos. In the course of transcribing and emending the text of “Walking Tour 1912,” editor Richard Sieburth retraced Pound’s footsteps along the roads to the troubadour castles. “What this peripatetic editing process… revealed,” he writes, “was a remarkably readable account of a journey in search of the vanished voices of Provence that at the same time chronicled Pound’s gradual discovery of himself as a modernist poet….”

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cover image of the book A Draft Of XXX Cantos

A Draft Of XXX Cantos

The Cantos have been called Ezra Pound’s intellectual diary, composed over the course of sixty years. An epic of great vision and complexity, it addresses the profound human issues in history and in our time. Readers often approach the work warily, daunted by Pound’s encyclopedic erudition, but the Cantos were written to be read first and foremost as poetry. Each of the nine groupings of poems can be seen as a fresh wave that swells out from and falls back upon the earlier cantos, extending them structurally, adding new layers of meaning. A Draft of XXX Cantos (1933), which introduces the work, thus anticipates the full Cantos’ essential themes and provides the surest entry into Pound’s masterpiece. Long out of print as a separate volume, A Draft of XXX Cantos is now available as a New Directions Paperbook.

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If the invention of literary modernism is usually attributed to James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound, it was Pound alone who provides (in Hugh Kenner’s words) “the synergetic presence” to convert individual experiment into an international movement. In 1926, Pound carefully sculpted his body of shorter poems into a definitive collection that would best show the concentration of force, the economy of means, and the habit of analysis that were, to him, the hallmarks of the new style. This collection, where Pound presented himself in a variety of characters or “masks,” was called Personae. In 1926, Personae’s publication gave solidity to a movement; today the work stands as one of the classic texts of the twentieth century. Pound scholars Lea Baechler (of Columbia) and A. Walton Litz (Holmes Professor of English Literature at Princeton) have prepared a corrected text and supplied an informative “Note on the Text" explaining both Pound’s original criteria for his selection and the volume’s subsequent history.

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cover image of the book Pound/The Little Review

Pound/The Little Review

Frustrated in his working relationship with Harriet Monroe and her Poetry magazine, Pound turned to Margaret Anderson, the open-minded founder of the Little Review. This Chicago-based editor helped the expatriate poet (living in London, then Paris) publish poems by Yeats, Eliot and himself, as well as fiction by Ford Madox Ford and Wyndham Lewis and, at Pound’s urging, James Joyce’s Ulysses. The serialization of the latter work brought down the wrath of U.S. postal authorities. All this might suggest that Pound’s letters to Anderson (hers to him have mostly perished) are a literary feast. On the contrary, his hasty correspondence is fragmentary, often obscure, narrowly matter-of-fact, sprinkled with tired anti-Americanisms and oh-so-clever literary references. Copious footnotes to each letter amplify the allusions; the notes are frequently more interesting than the letters themselves. This compendium is for scholars and Pound devotees.

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cover image of the book Pound/Zukofsky


Pound/Zukofsky is the fifth volume in the ongoing series, The Correspondence of Ezra Pound. Pound (1885-1972) and Zukofsky (1904-1978) met only three times: in Rapallo, Italy, for a few weeks in 1933; for a few hours in New York, in 1939; and briefly again at St. Elizabeths Hospital, in Washington, D.C., in 1954. Yet by the time of their first meeting, they had already exchanged almost 300 letters. over half of their total correspondence. The two poets knew each other quite literally as men of letters.

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cover image of the book Pound/Lewis


The friendship of Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis began in London in 1909, survived two European wars and the rise and fall of the totalitarian governments both men misguidedly supported, and lasted through Pound’s years of confinement at St. Elizabeths, to Lewis’s death in 1957. In Pound/Lewis, their correspondence of five decades is gathered for the first time; it proves a revealing reflection of their intense, always professional, mutual regard.

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cover image of the book Women Of Trachis

Women Of Trachis

For Ezra Pound, Sophokles’ Women of Trachis represented ’the highest peak of Greek sensibility registered in any of the plays that have come down to us…” Nothing rhetorical, nothing long-winded survives in Pound’s tragedy of Herakles. His language is lit with lights long extinguished in the traditionally ornate and airless verse translations. With no mincing, poetry speeds tragedy down its course to disaster. Pound’s version of Women of Trachis was first published by New Directions in 1957. Some twenty years earlier, in 1938, Pound had complained that there “were no translations of these plays that an aware man can read without deadly boredom.” He himself, as it turned out, supplied the remedy: his Women of Trachis brings Sophokles into the world of the living.

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cover image of the book Ezra Pound and Dorothy Shakespear

Ezra Pound and Dorothy Shakespear

“’Ezra.’ Listen to it––Ezra! Ezra!––And a third time––Ezra!… Some people have complained of untidy boots––how could they look at his boots, when there is his moving, beautiful face to watch!” These words from the notebook of Dorothy Shakespear, dated February 16, 1909, record the entry into her life of the energetic young American, recently arrived in London, who was to become her husband––Ezra Pound. Their correspondence, begun the following year, extends over more than six decades, until the poet’s death in 1972. All of these letters are of unusual literary interest, but those from before their marriage in April 1914 have a special importance, since few from this period have been published. The standard edition of The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound, edited by D. D. Paige, includes none from 1910-1911 and only a handful from 1912-1913, yet these were the crucial years in Pound’s literary development and in the shaping of early modernism. The over two hundred letters and diary entries in Ezra Pound and Dorothy Shakespear: Their Letters 1909-1914 are published here for the first time. Taken together, they provide a detailed record of the poet’s search for a new style and give a full portrait of a dynamic young expatriate who was simultaneously involved in two literary generations, the companion and close friend of Yeats and Ford Madox Hueffer as well as of Wyndham Lewis and the sculptor Gaudier-Brzeska. They also shed a poignant light on The Pisan Cantos of 1945, where amid the ruins of his life Pound recalled again and again the events and people described in these letters, as if the memory of 1909-1914 was the only stable point left in a disintegrating personal universe. The letters have been thoroughly annotated by Omar Pound, translator, and bibliographer of Wyndham Lewis, and by A. Walton Litz of Princeton University, the author of studies of James Joyce, Wallace Stevens, and other modern writers. The book includes: a biographical appendix, with particular emphasis on lesser-known people mentioned in the letters; some unpublished early poems by Pound transcribed by Dorothy into one of her notebooks; family charts, one of which shows Pound’s ancestral origins; numerous unpublished illustrations; and an extensive index.

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cover image of the book Pound/Ford


The friendship between Ezra Pound (1885-1972) and Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939) lasted for thirty years. It began in London in 1909, shortly after Pound’s arrival, continued in Paris, and was afterward maintained without ruptures, quarrels, or serious disagreements, their warm affection and loyalty holding them together through life’s vicissitudes, separation, and exile. Pound/Ford: The Story of a Literary Friendship documents, with letters as well as essays, reviews, and reminiscences––a considerable portion of which is published here for the first time––one of the most significant relationships in the development of modernism. Ford, the London man of letters, and Pound, his younger American contemporary, were united in their love for and knowledge of Mediterranean culture, their fierce dedication to literature, and their unselfish and tireless promotion of other writers––Lawrence, Joyce, Eliot, and Hemingway, to name just a few. Their influence upon each other was always eagerly acknowledged.

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cover image of the book Collected Early Poems of Ezra Pound

Collected Early Poems of Ezra Pound

The Collected Early Poems of Ezra Pound contains the complete text, the poet’s first six books, their title pages in facsimile (A Lume Spento, 1908; A Quinzaine for This Yule, 1908; Personae, 1909; Exultations, 1909; Canzoni, 1911; Ripostes, 1912), and the long poem Redondillas (1911), for many years available only in a rare limited edition. There are, in addition, twenty-five poems originally published in periodicals but not previously collected, as well as thirty-eight others drawn from miscellaneous manuscripts. Ezra Pound’s 1926 collection, entitled Personae after his earlier volume of that name, was his personal choice of all the poems he wished to keep in print other than some translations and his Cantos. It was intended to be the definitive collection of his shorter poems, and so it should remain. Yet even the discarded works of a great poet are of value and interest to students and devotees. Originally, brought out clothbound by New Directions in 1976, the texts were established at the Center for the Study of Ezra Pound and His Contemporaries of The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. They were edited by Michael King under the direction of Louis L. Martz, who wrote the introduction, and Donald Gallup, formerly Curator of American Literature. Included are textual and bibliographic notes as well as indexes of titles and first lines.

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cover image of the book Ezra Pound And The Visual Arts

Ezra Pound And The Visual Arts

A gathering of Ezra Pound’s writing, criticism, and reviews on art.

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cover image of the book Love Poems Of Ancient Egypt

Love Poems Of Ancient Egypt

Ezra Pound’s incomparable gifts as a translator delight us anew in Conversations in Courtship, an Egyptian love poem which he has put into English from the Italian versions of his son-in-law Boris de Rachewiltz, a distinguished Egyptologist. Illness having prevented Mr. Pound from continuing the work, the remaining poems of this remarkable collection, which is drawn from the hieroglyphics of papyri and pottery inscriptions, have been translated by the poet Noel Stock. The color, freshness and vitality of these ageless poems offer an enchanting revelation of life as it must have been in the Valley of the Nile more than three thousand years ago.

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cover image of the book Ezra Pound And Music

Ezra Pound And Music

Included here are all of Pound’s concert reviews and statements; the biweekly columns written under the pen name William Atheling for The New Age in London; articles from other periodicals; the complete text of the 1924 landmark volume Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony; extracts from books and letters, and the poet’s additional writings on the subject of music. The pieces are organized chronologically, with illuminating commentary, thorough footnotes, and an index. Three apendixes complete this comprehensive volume; an analysis of Pound’s theories of “absolute rhythm” and “Great Bass;” a glossary of important musical personalities mentioned in the text and the composer George Antheil’s 1924 appreciation, “Why a Poet Quit the Muses.”

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cover image of the book Pavannes & Divagations

Pavannes & Divagations

The canon of Ezra Pound would be incomplete without a representative collection in the master’s lighter vein. Pavanes and Divagations seeks to meet this need. Included are Pound’s long essay ’’Indiscretions,’’ one of his rare autobiographical writings, an assortment of facetious verses, his superb translations from the dialogues of Fontenelle, causeries on topics ranging from religion to the mores of moneyed society, as well as a miscellany of editorials, denunciations, and literary masquerades. Pound’s barbed wit is displayed here to its best advantage. But more than a simple diversion, this volume presents an important but neglected aspect of the prime shaper of modern poetry in English.

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cover image of the book Selected Prose 1909-1965

Selected Prose 1909-1965

by Ezra Pound

Translated by William Cookson

With a contribution by Ezra Pound

’In making this selection,’’ writes William Cookson in his introduction to this paperbook edition of early and out-of-print writings, ’’my aim has been to show the unity of Ezra Pound’s concerns.’’ The sixty-six pieces in Pound’s Selected Prose 1909-1965 are arranged thematically, and while they are organized chronologically within several groupings, there are natural cross-currents of thoughts among them. Particular emphasis, however, is given to the articles concerned with ’’Civilisation, Money and History.’’ This section contains such essential texts as the “ABC of Economics” and “What Is Money For?” as well as two essays––“Gold and Work” and ’’A Visiting Card"––translated from Pound’s Italian and never before published in English in their entirety. Much space is devoted, too, to Pound’s evaluation of his native America, its history, culture, and economy, and his 1913 essay, ’’Patria Mia,’’ is reprinted.

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cover image of the book Gaudier-Brzeska


Ezra Pound’s book on the French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska was first published in 1916. An enlarged edition, including thirty pages of illustrations (sculpture and drawings) as well as Pound’s later pieces on Gaudier, was brought out in 1970, and is now re-issued as an ND Paperbook. The memoir is valuable both for the history of modern art and for what it shows us of Pound himself, his ability to recognize genius in others and then to publicize it effectively. Would there today be a Salle Gaudier-Brzeska in the Musée de L’Art Moderne in Paris if Pound had not championed him? Gaudier’s talent was impressive and his Vorticist aesthetic important as theory, but he was killed in World War I at the age of twenty-three, leaving only a small body of work. Pound knew Gaudier in London, where the young artist had come with his companion, the Polish-born Sophie Brzeska. whose name he added to his own. They were living in poverty when Pound bought Gaudier the stone from which the famous “hieratic head” of the poet was made. Pound arranged exhibitions and for the publication of Gaudier’s manifestoes in Blast and The Egoist. And he wrote and sent packages to him in the trenches, where Gaudier––a sculptor to the last––carved a madonna and child from the butt of a captured German rifle, just two days before he died.

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cover image of the book Selected Letters Of Ezra Pound

Selected Letters Of Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound would deserve a place in the literary history of the twentieth century if only for bringing to light and to publication the work, among others, of T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, James Joyce and William Carlos Williams. His tireless activities in behalf of other poets, artists, and literary ventures of every sort were in large part carried on by way of his voluminous correspondence. Eliot himself once commented that Pound’s “epistolary style is masterly”––a judgment wholly confirmed by the 384 examples that comprise this selection. Included here are the poet’s letters to Margaret Anderson of The Little Review, Harriet Monroe of Poetry, Harriet Shaw Weaver of The Egoist, H. L. Mencken and John Quinn; to such poets and writers as E. E. Cummings, Ernest Hemingway, Amy Lowell, Marianne Moore, Eliot, Joyce and, of course, his old friend Dr. Williams. Of exceptional interest, however, is Pound’s massive correspondence with the young unknowns who wrote to him for advice. “The tone of his prose criticism,” says D. D. Paige in his Introduction, “with its coruscations, its ellipses, its dogmatisms, its gay carnival air, its unwillingness to enjoy the safety gravity offers, its violence against entrenched stupidity and its championing of fresh writers––all that simply encouraged them to approach him. A tremendous lure!”

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Selected Cantos

This selection from the Cantos was made by Ezra Pound himself in 1965. It is intended to indicate main elements in the long poem––his personal epic––with which he was engaged for more than fifty years. His choice includes, of course, a number of the Cantos most admired by critics and anthologists, such as Canto XIII (“Kung [Confucius] walked by the dynastic temple…”), Canto XLV (“With usura hath no man a house of good stone…”) and the passage from The Pisan Cantos (LXXXI) beginning “What thou lovest well remains / the rest is dross,” and so the book is an ideal introduction for newcomers to the great work. But it has, too, particular interest for the already initiated reader and the specialist, in its revelation, through Pound’s own selection of ’main elements,’ of the relative importance which he himself placed on various motifs as they figure in the architecture of the whole poem.

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The study of Chinese culture was a dominant concern in Ezra Pound’s life and work. His great Canto XIII is about Kung (Confucius), Cantos LII-LXI deal with Chinese history, and in the later Cantos key motifs are often given in Chinese quotations with the characters set into the English text. His introduction to Oriental literature was chiefly through Ernest Fenollosa whose translations and notes were given him by the scholars widow in London about 1913. From these notebooks came, in time, the superb poems entitled Cathay and Pound’s edition of Fenollosa’s Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry. But it was Confucius’ ethical and political teachings––that most influenced Pound. And now, for the first time, his versions, with commentary, of three basic texts that he translated have been assembled in one volume: The Great Digest (Ta Hsio), first published in 1928; The Unwobbling Pivot (Chung Yung), 1947; and The Analects (Lun-yü), 1950. For the first two, the Chinese characters from the ancient “Stone Classics” are printed en face in our edition, with a note by Achilles Fang. Pound never wanted to be a literal translator. What he could do, as no other could, is to identify the essence, pick out “what matters now,” and phrase it so pungently, so beautifully, that it will stick in the head and start new thinking.

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cover image of the book Literary Essays Of Ezra Pound

Literary Essays Of Ezra Pound

For this definitive collection of Pound’s Literary Essays, his friend (and English editor) T. S. Eliot chose material from five earlier volumes: Pavannes and Divisions (1918), Instigations (1920), How to Read (1931), Make It New (1934), and Polite Essays (1937). 33 pieces are arranged in three groups: “The Art of Poetry,” “The Tradition,” and “Contemporaries.” Eliot wrote in his introduction: “I hope that this volume will demonstrate that Pound’s literary criticism is the most important contemporary criticism of its kind . . perhaps the kind we can least afford to do without . . . the refreshment, the revitalization and ‘making new’ of literature in our time.”

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cover image of the book Guide To Kulchur

Guide To Kulchur

The Guide to Kulchur, first published in 1938, is one of Ezra Pound’s most stimulating books. As might be expected, this is no ordinary Baedeker of the arts, no conventional tour of familiar landmarks and highspots, but an iconoclastic revision of the cultural (in the broadest sense) curriculum. In a sequence of short, pungent chapters, Pound covers the whole territory of “kulchur”––from the Chinese philosophers to modern poetry, from music to economics––as he discovered it for himself in a lifetime of reading, looking, and listening. “This book,” he says in his foreword, “is not written for the over-fed. It is written for men who have not been able to afford a university education or for young men, whether or not threatened with universities, who want to know more at the age of fifty than I know today, and whom I might conceivably aid to that object.” Here we have Pound the teacher, and he is a good one; whatever he touches comes alive for the student. Long-accepted wrong judgments are rudely exposed. Neglected writers are given their due. Essences are defined and separated from what is superficial. The reader is challenged to explore new areas, reinterpret history, and radically rethink the bases of his own tastes.

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cover image of the book Pound/Joyce: Letters & Essays

Pound/Joyce: Letters & Essays

This is the record of one of the most interesting personal relationships of modern literature. Between 1913, when Yeats first called Joyce’s work to Pound’s attention, and 1920 there was a steady flow of letters, in which we see Pound finding publishers for Joyce, collecting money for him, defending him against censorship, even sending spare clothes. More than sixty letters from Pound to Joyce have survived, while those from Joyce to Pound will be found in the Viking Press Joyce correspondence volumes. Perhaps the most remarkable letters are those in which Pound gives his spontaneous reactions as the scripts of Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist, Exiles and Ulysses first reached him. We can then trace how these judgments were refined and amplified in the series of pieces that Pound wrote on Joyce for various magazines, the earliest sustained criticism of his work. And finally there are the later insights of the Rome broadcast of 1941 and the references to Joyce in The Pisan Cantos. Pound/Joyce has been edited, with an introduction, extensive running commentary, notes, and a wealth of related material from many sources, by Forrest Read, who is Professor of English at the University of North Carolina.

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cover image of the book Confucius To Cummings

Confucius To Cummings

This anthology is Ezra Pound’s own choice of the poetry of various ages and cultures––ranging from his translations of the Confucian Odes up to E. E. Cummings––which he considered the finest of its type. It is a statement by example of the “Pound critical canon” and, as such, a short course in the history of world poetry, useful alike for the student and the general reader. Nearly a hundred poets are represented, a number of them in Pound’s own translations, with emphasis on the Greek and Latin, Chinese, Troubadour, Renaissance, and Elizabethan. Of particular interest are the notes on certain of the poems and poets which Pound supplied in comment on his selections.

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cover image of the book Ezra Pound: Translations

Ezra Pound: Translations

Ezra Pound is destined to rank as one of the great translators of all time. Ranging through many languages, he chose for translation writers whose work marked a significant turning point in the development of world literature, or key poems which exemplify what is most vital in a given period or genre. This new enlarged edition, devoted chiefly to poetry, includes some forty pages of previously uncollected material. Anglo-Saxon: The Seafarer. Chinese: (Cathay) Rihaku (Li Po). Bunno, Mei Sheng, T’ao Yuan Ming. Egyptian: Conversations in Courtship. French: du Bellay, de Boufflers, D’Orléans, Lalorgue, Lubicz-Milosz, Rimbaud, Tailhade. Prose: de Gourmont. Hindi: Kabir. Italian: Cavalcanti, St. Francis, Guinicelli, Leopardi, Montanari, Orlandi. Japanese Noh Plays: 15 plays with Fenollosa’s commentary. Latin: Catullus, Horace, Navagero, Rutilius. Provençal: Bertrand de Born, Cercalmon, Daniel, Folquet de Romans, Li Viniers, Ventadorn.

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cover image of the book The Classic Noh Theatre Of Japan

The Classic Noh Theatre Of Japan

Fifteen of the most celebrated plays of the Noh theatre repertory are given here in their entirety and five more are presented in synopsis. The translations are grounded in a critical discussion of the Noh theatre, its history and place in the court life of Japan, a description of the stage on which it is performed, its music, costumes, and masks, and the dance which is usually the high point of the performance. Both Pound and Fenollosa discuss the special elements of Noh poetry, and Pound’s poetic organization of Fenollosa’s authoritative translation and notes creates a fortunate collaboration.

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cover image of the book Selected Poems of Ezra Pound

Selected Poems of Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound has been called “the inventor of modern poetry in English.” The verse and criticism which he produced during the early years of this century very largely determined the directions of creative writing in our time; and virtually every major poet in England and America today has acknowledged his help or influence. Pound’s lyric genius, his superb technique, and his fresh insight into literary problems make him one of the small company of men who through the centuries have kept poetry alive, one of the great innovators. For the reader who is still unacquainted with Pound’s work, this book offers a compact yet representative selection of his poems and translations. The span covered is Pound’s entire writing career, from his early lyrics and the translations of Provençal songs to his recent English version of Sophokles’ Trachiniae. Included are parts of his best known works — the Chinese translations, the sequence called Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, the Homage to Sextus Properitus. The Cantos, Pound’s major epic, are presented in generous selections, chosen to emphasize the main themes of the whole poem. Here, in short, is the indispensable minimum. Students and general readers alike will find it their best introduction to Ezra Pound and the poetry of the twentieth century.

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cover image of the book The New Directions Anthology Of Classical Chinese Poetry

The New Directions Anthology Of Classical Chinese Poetry

A rich compendium of translations, The New Directions Anthology of Chinese Poetry is the first collection to look at Chinese poetry through its enormous influence on American poetry. Beginning with Ezra Pound’s Cathay (1915), the anthology includes translations by three other major U.S. poets––William Carlos Williams, Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder––and an important poet-translator-scholar, David Hinton, all of whom have long been associated with New Directions. It is one of the first general anthologies ever to consider the process of translation by presenting different versions of the same poem by multiple translators, as well as examples of the translators rewriting themselves. A playful and instructive study into the art and tradition of Chinese poetry, this anthology gathers some 250 poems by nearly 40 poets, from the anonymous early poetry through the great masters of the T’ang and Sung dynasties. It also includes previously uncollected translations by Pound; a selection of essays on Chinese poetry by all five translators, some never published before in book form; Lu Chi’s famous “Rhymeprose on Literature,” translated by the eminent scholar Achilles Fang; biographical notes that are a collage of poems and comments by both the American translators and the Chinese poets themselves; as well as Eliot Weinberger’s excellent introduction that historically contextualizes the influence Chinese poetry has had on the work of American poets.

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cover image of the book Sophokles Elektra

Sophokles Elektra

Translated by Ezra Pound

Early in 1949, while under indictment for treason and hospitalized by court order at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., Ezra Pound collaborated with Rudd Fleming, a professor at the University of Maryland, on a new version of Sophokles’ Elektra. Pound’s decision to focus on this play of imprisonment and justice at such a crucial juncture in his own life and art throws both the play and the poet into stark and ironic relief. Rediscovered and finally produced to great acclaim in 1987 by New York’s Classic Stage Company, the Pound/Fleming translation of Elektra is now available in an acting edition prepared by the CSC Repertory’s artistic director. Carey Perloff says of the translation: “It is energetic, slightly outrageous, and very American …. It’s very chiseled, very spare, not flowing or lyrical. It’s sort of ’cowboy.’ But line for line, it is Sophokles.” Ms. Perloff also gives suggestions for staging and casting which will be invaluable to other producers and directors.

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cover image of the book Fancy Goods/Open All Night

Fancy Goods/Open All Night

by Paul Morand

Translated by Ezra Pound

The reputation of Paul Morand (1888-1976) rests squarely upon his short stories from the 1920s, which introduced a fresh and exuberant style into postwar French letters. Yet in spite of his immense popularity and later prestige (he was elected to the Academie Française in 1968), he has remained largely unknown to English-speaking readers. Ezra Pound, shortly after arriving in Paris in 1920, made contact with Morand and, always ready to champion new and distinct voices, was soon translating his short stories for the British publishers Chapman and Dodd. In the end, however, the translations were rejected as ’’unsuitable,’’ partially on the grounds of sexual frankness. The typescripts, left for safekeeping with William Bird’s Paris-based Three Mountains Press, were rediscovered in the mid-1970s and are published here for the first time. As might be expected, the energy and originality of Morand’s style is matched by Pound’s inventive genius. Thus, the texts offer us not only access to a significant French writer long neglected here but an opportunity to re-evaluate the role and dimension of translation in Pound’s own work.

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cover image of the book Selected Prose 1909-1965

Selected Prose 1909-1965

by Ezra Pound

Translated by William Cookson

With a contribution by Ezra Pound

’In making this selection,’’ writes William Cookson in his introduction to this paperbook edition of early and out-of-print writings, ’’my aim has been to show the unity of Ezra Pound’s concerns.’’ The sixty-six pieces in Pound’s Selected Prose 1909-1965 are arranged thematically, and while they are organized chronologically within several groupings, there are natural cross-currents of thoughts among them. Particular emphasis, however, is given to the articles concerned with ’’Civilisation, Money and History.’’ This section contains such essential texts as the “ABC of Economics” and “What Is Money For?” as well as two essays––“Gold and Work” and ’’A Visiting Card"––translated from Pound’s Italian and never before published in English in their entirety. Much space is devoted, too, to Pound’s evaluation of his native America, its history, culture, and economy, and his 1913 essay, ’’Patria Mia,’’ is reprinted.

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With the vers libre of Cathay, T. S. Eliot famously observed, Pound had become “the inventor of Chinese poetry for our time.”

Richard Sieburth

Pound, transcreating Chinese poetry in English, seems to have anticipated that making it new in our endless, inescapable present would increasingly mean returning to the old.

Pankaj Mishra, The New York Times Book Review

Full of original and suggestive ideas on the meaning and operation of the poetic art.

The New Yorker

He more or less single-handedly invented 20th-century poetry, or modernism, or the kind of literature that is ambitious, intellectually and musically stirring, and often haunting.

The Guardian

Pound’s distinctive genius lay in his unbounded energy and exuberance.

Michael Dirda
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