Ezra Pound

(30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972 / Hailey / Idaho)

Ezra Pound Quotes

  • ''All my life I believed I knew something. But then one strange day came when I realized that I knew nothing, yes, I knew nothing. And so words became void of meaning ... I have arrived too late at ultimate uncertainty.''
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Epoca (Milan, March 1963).
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  • ''It is more than likely that the brain itself is, in origin and development, only a sort of great clot of genital fluid held in suspense or reserved.... This hypothesis ... would explain the enormous content of the brain as a maker or presenter of images.''
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. "Translator's Postscript." To Pound's translation of Rémy De Gourmont, Physique de l'Amour (1922).
  • ''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).
  • ''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."
  • ''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.
  • ''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).
  • ''Gloom and solemnity are entirely out of place in even the most rigorous study of an art originally intended to make glad the heart of man.''
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. "Warning," prefatory, ABC of Reading (1934).
  • ''But the one thing you shd. not do is to suppose that when something is wrong with the arts, it is wrong with the arts ONLY.''
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. "ZWECK or the AIM," pt. 1, ch. 5, Guide to Kulchur (1938).
  • ''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).
  • ''The real trouble with war (modern war) is that it gives no one a chance to kill the right people.''
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. repr. In Gaudier-Brzeska: a Memoir (1916, rev. 1960). "Gaudier: A Postscript," Esquire (New York, Aug. 1934).

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Best Poem of Ezra Pound

A Girl

The tree has entered my hands,
The sap has ascended my arms,
The tree has grown in my breast -
Downward,
The branches grow out of me, like arms.

Tree you are,
Moss you are,
You are violets with wind above them.
A child - so high - you are,
And all this is folly to the world.

Read the full of A Girl

Histrion

No man hath dared to write this thing as yet,
And yet I know, how that the souls of all men great
At times pass athrough us,
And we are melted into them, and are not
Save reflexions of their souls.
Thus am I Dante for a space and am
One Francois Villon, ballad-lord and thief,
Or am such holy ones I may not write
Lest blasphemy be writ against my name;

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