Quotations From EZRA POUND
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I consider criticism merely a preliminary excitement, a statement of things a writer has to clear up in his own head sometime or other, probably antecedent to writing; of no value unless it come to fruit in the created work later.Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Criterion (London, Jan. 1923).
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A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness.Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. "Warning," prefatory, ABC of Reading (1934).
If the individual, or heretic, gets hold of some essential truth, or sees some error in the system being practised, he commits so many marginal errors himself that he is worn out before he can establish his point.Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963). Pound was obliquely referring to his own experience, and his incarceration in an American mental institution for ten years following his arrest for treason in 1945.
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The Image is more than an idea. It is a vortex or cluster of fused ideas and is endowed with energy.Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. "AffirmationsAs for Imagisme," pt. 7, Selected Prose 1909-1965, ed. William Cookson (1973).
We do NOT know the past in chronological sequence. It may be convenient to lay it out anesthetized on the table with dates pasted on here and there, but what we know we know by ripples and spirals eddying out from us and from our own time.Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. "ZWECK or the AIM," pt. 1, ch. 5, Guide to Kulchur (1938).
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The jargon of these sculptors is beyond me. I do not know precisely why I admire a green granite female, apparently pregnant monster with one eye going around a square corner.Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Egoist (London, Feb. 15, 1914).
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Nothing written for pay is worth printing. ONLY what has been written AGAINST the market.Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Ezra Pound in Melbourne: Helix 13/14 (1983). Pound himself was largely freed from the necessity to earn a living thanks to his wife Dorothy Shakespear's private income.
Allow me to say that I would long since have committed suicide had desisting made me a professor of Latin.Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Unsent letter, c. 1920, to Professor W.G. Hale of the University of Chicago. Written in answer to Hale's stinging criticism of Pound's Homage to Sextus Propertius in Poetry (April 1919). Hale had opined, "If Mr. Pound were a professor of Latin, there would be nothing left for him but suicide."
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The real meditation is ... the meditation on one's identity. Ah, voilà une chose!! You try it. You try finding out why you're you and not somebody else. And who in the blazes are you anyhow? Ah, voilà une chose!Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Letter, April 21, 1913, to Pound's fiancée (later wife) Dorothy Shakespear. Ezra Pound and Dorothy Shakespear: Their Letters 1909-1914, eds. Omar Pound and A. Walton Litz (1985).
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I dunno what my 23 infantile years in America signify. I left as soon as motion was autarchicI mean my motion.Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Letter, October 29, 1940. The Letters of Ezra Pound 1907-1941, ed. D.D. Paige (1950).
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