He was the man

Robert Crawford

  • BuyEzra Pound: Poet: A Portrait of the Man and his Work: Vol. III: The Tragic Years, 1939-72 by A. David Moody
    Oxford, 654 pp, £30.00, September 2015, ISBN 978 0 19 870436 2

Can anyone read a biography of Ezra Pound without feeling unsettled? The persistent anti-Semitism; the eager support for Mussolini; the pain and waste of the incarceration, first in a US military detention centre resembling Guantánamo, then in a Washington facility for the insane; the lasting damage done to people in his family circle; the powerful egocentrism at the heart of all this: the most dire aspects of Pound’s history trouble the reader. Yet Pound’s life is also one of the greatest stories of 20th-century poetry. His generosity to other writers, his zealous energy, his gadfly intellectual brilliance and, most important, his remarkable poetic ear make him unignorable.

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