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Ezra Pound Poetry Paper

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Ezra pound came up with vorticism to add further movement, vigor, and intensity to an image. While reading the poems relevant to imagism and vorticism “images half-form and dissolve; uncongenial words and ideas are disconcertingly juxtaposed” (Froula 1). Pound was very interested in imagism and vorticism, which allowed him to expand his horizons and write many great poems in accordance to these two movements.

Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho on October 30th. His family moved around a lot from Idaho, to Philadelphia to Pennsylvania. He also had an opportunity to go to Europe with his Aunt, during that visit he got to see Gibraltar, Tunisia and Venice, which he later wrote about in one of his most famous works The Cantos. He completed two years of college at the University of Pennsylvania and earned a degree from Hamilton College in 1905. When he went to school at the University of Pennsylvania, in his last year he met soon to be famous poet William Carlos Williams and also Hilda Doolittle who he later founded the new Imagist school with. Pound met new many people who are considered to be famous poets today such as, T.S Elliot, Hemmingway, James Joyce, E.E Cummings, Gertrude Stein and many more. T.S. Elliot even had Pound edit one of his most famous works, The Wasteland. Pound helped many around him and showed generosity towards them,

“in his attitude towards other people’s work Pound has been superlatively generous…[his critical sympathy] extends far and wide. He does not in the least mind being in service to somebody (as do other people it is usually found) if they have great talent…I have never known a person less troubled with personal feelings” (Nadel 22).

It appears that Pound almost cared more about others than himself. This aspect of his personality almost most certainly shows through when he was writing his poetry. All of the poems that will be discussed later deals with Pound looking through an image of another person or recalling a moment while being around another person. After having these experiences, he then would write his feelings he had at that particular time towards them, especially In a Station of the Metro, and Alba. If he’s not trying to help others, he’s writing about other people’s problems rather than his own. This could have been because he himself had many problems he might have felt more comfortable focusing on the problems of others’ so that he could forget about his own. Or on the other side of things, maybe he just was selfless individual who was interested in other people around him. An example of this is seen in a letter written by William Carlos Williams to his Mother; which allows a deeper look into Pound as a person rather than a poet. In the letter, Williams explains to his mother why he didn’t write to her the previous week because he was out of town with Pound. Based on what Williams had to say in the letter, it appears that many people didn’t like Pound even though he wanted everyone to like him he had too much pride to say so. “…so he is just the man for me. But not one person in a thousand likes him, and a great many detest him and why? Because he is so darned full of conceits and affection…it is too bad, for he loves to be liked, yet there is some quality in him which makes him too proud to try to please people” ( Homberger 35-36). Based on this Pound obviously got over his pride later in life, especially because he helped many writers during his life. He apparently became at ease with the idea of making other people happy some point after Williams wrote this letter.

After attending the University of Pennsylvania, Pound taught at Wabash College for two years, afterwards he traveled abroad to Spain, Italy and London. Perhaps because his parents moved so around often and his Aunt took him to Europe it allowed him to acquire a love for traveling and seeing new places later in his life. He married Dorothy Shakespear in 1914 and became the London editor of the Little Review in 1917. In 1924, he moved to Italy, and unfortunately became involved in Fascist politics, he did not return to the United States until 1945. He was soon arrested on charges of treason for allegedly broadcasting Fascist propaganda by radio to the United States during the Second World War. In 1946, he was acquitted of the charges, but he declared to be mentally ill and then was committed to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. During his time there, he was awarded the Bollingen award for the Pisan Cantos in 1948. After a Petition was made to release Pound who was now seventy years old at the time from St. Elizabeths, the US District Court fortunately granted it. He was released from the hospital in 1958. Pound returned to Italy and settled in Venice, where he later died at eighty-seven on November 1st 1972. He was buried in the Protestant section of the island cemetery of San Michele. However, his poetry has still remained popular and many have tried to analyze his many works, especially ones pertaining to imagism.

Among the many poems that involve imagism are, In a Station of the Metro, The Tea Shop, The Encounter, Alba, and The Beautiful Toilet all of which will be discussed further. The poem In a Station of the Metro, is written in haiku, a Japanese poetic form with exactly sixteen syllables. In two lines, Pound brings a series of images to the reader. Among these images are the metro station, the apparition of the faces in the crowd and the wet petals on a black bough. At first glimpse by just reading the title, it seems that the poem is about city life with busy people moving about their day, waiting at the station getting ready to go on about their lives. However there is more to it than meets the eye. The word "apparition" gives some sort of a super natural force to the “faces in the crowd” (35), making them stand out almost magically. The next line seems to serve as a surprise with the sudden image of "petals on a wet, black bough” (35). It gives the reader an image of beauty in an unexpected place. You can picture the brightness of the flower on the darkness of the black bough, which is something we would not expect. Such a beautiful image being recalled at a station at a metro is somewhat unusual. Perhaps Pound saw one face that stood out from the crowd at the station, making it stand out because of its extreme beauty, like the flower against the darkness of the station and mass of unrecognizable faces. This poem could be conveying the idea, that we should recognize the beauty in everyday things and every day life. It is amazing that Pound was able to pick out such images to convey what he saw and felt on that particular day.

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