Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound

Venue: Brendon Books, Old Brewery Buildings, Bath Place, Taunton, Somerset TA1 4ER
(map below)

Ezra Pound - World Poets

One of the most dramatic pioneers in 20th century literature, Ezra Pound changed the face of European poetry single-handed. Pound’s life and work trace a fascinating path from Idaho to Venice to the Regent Street Polytechnic to West Sussex to Paris to Italy again. There are stories to be told and poems to be read from all of these places. His hunger for other cultures feeds the spectacular originality of his adventure on the page. His Cantos is one of the great 20th century masterpieces, the controversies around him challenging and graspable. Critic to the stars, he brought W B Yeats’s poetry to new life, cut half of Eliot’s poem ‘The Waste Land’ (the right half), and influenced younger poets on both sides of the Atlantic. He translated with a virtuoso vigour from Chinese, Old English, Provencal, Italian and French.   

The other night I went to a Vaughan Williams concert at the Royal Festival 

Hall in London. Before Vaughan Williams’s mighty Ninth Symphony, inspired by Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbevilles, LPO conductor Andrew Manze told the audience, “it’s tough, but stay with it. You’ll have to anyway, because we’ve locked the doors. (Laughter). And maybe in a couple of hundred years it’ll be seen as the masterpiece it is”. I thought: Pound’s Cantos

So – stand by. 

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Graham's lecture on Pound is terrific. Sensitive, sensible, alert to what's beautiful. It's a gift to keep the reader's attention on the wind and water and never end up in the library, where we murder to dissect. I've always thought of Pound as a show-off pedant, dragging in his bookshelf, but I see his intention was the opposite. Make it new indeed. Made me glad I've kept all those Pound books, his cantos and his Chinese and his Anglo-Saxons.
David Berreby

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Top picture: Fondamenta Zattere ai Saloni, a stretch on Pound’s daily stroll route, Venice. Photo by Wolfgang Moroder, Wikimedia Commons

Lower picture: Ezra Pound in Venice, 1963. Photo by Walter Mori (Arnoldo Mondadori publishers). Wikimedia Commons

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