Ezra Pound

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True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.
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Ezra Pound (October 30, 1885November 1, 1972) was an American expatriate poet, musician and critic who was a major figure of the Modernist movement in early to mid-20th century poetry. He was the driving force behind several Modernist movements, notably Imagism and Vorticism.


  • Image…that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time.
    • Poetry: A Magazine of Verse (March 1913)
  • Poetry must be as well written as prose.
    • Letter to Harriet Monroe, (January 1915)
  • Hang it all, Robert Browning, there can be but the one "Sordello."
    • From Draft of XXX Cantos (1933), No.2
  • Make it new!
    • Book title (1935)
  • But the one thing you shd. not do is suppose that when something is wrong with the arts, it is wrong with the arts ONLY.
    • Guide to Kulchur (1938)
  • The temple is holy because it is not for sale.
    • Cantos, XCVII.

ABC of Reading (1934)

  • The author's conviction on this day of the New Year is that music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance; that poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music.
    • Preface
  • Literature is news that STAYS news.
    • Ch.1
  • Any general statement is like a cheque drawn on a bank. Its value depends on what is there to meet it.
    • p. 25
  • The man of understanding can no more sit quiet and resigned while his country lets literature decay than a good doctor could sit quiet and contented while some ignorant child was infecting itself with tuberculosis under the impression that it was merely eating jam tarts.
    • p. 33
  • AT ABOUT THIS POINT the weak-hearted reader usually sits down in the road, removes his shoes and weeps that he 'is a bad linguist' or that he or she can't possibly learn all those languages. One has to divide the readers who want to be experts from those who do not, and divide, as it were, those who want to see the world from those who merely want to know WHAT PART OF IT THEY LIVE IN.
    • p. 42
  • Real education must ultimately be limited to one who INSISTS on knowing, the rest is mere sheep-herding.
    • Ch.8


  • My worst mistake was the stupid suburban prejudice of anti-Semitism, all along.
    • Quoted in Composed on the tongue, "Encounters will Ezra Pound" by Allen Ginsberg
  • Nothing written for pay is worth printing. ONLY what has been written AGAINST the market.
  • The art of letters will come to an end before A.D. 2000. I shall survive as a curiosity.

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