Quotations From EZRA POUND

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  • 31.
    Poetry is a very complex art.... It is an art of pure sound bound in through an art of arbitrary and conventional symbols.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. "I Gather the Limbs of Osiris," pt. 1, Selected Prose 1909-1965, ed. William Cookson (1973).

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  • 32.
    With one day's reading a man may have the key in his hands.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Canto 74, Pisan Cantos (1948). In contrast, Pound had once confided to William Carlos Williams that, "It is not necessary to read everything in a book in order to speak intelligently of it," adding, "Don't tell everybody I said so." (Quoted in Williams' Kora in Hell (1920) p.13).
  • 33.
    The act of bellringing is symbolic of all proselytizing religions. It implies the pointless interference with the quiet of other people.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. quoted in Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character, pt. 2, ch. 1 (1988).

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  • 34.
    I could I trust starve like a gentleman. It's listed as part of the poetic training, you know.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Letter, 1908, to Pound's father. quoted in Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character, pt. 2, ch. 1 (1988).

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  • 35.
    A heroic figure ... not wholly to blame for the religion that's been foisted on him.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Letter, 1914, to the father of Pound's bride-to-be, Dorothy Shakespear, explaining his reasons for not wanting a church wedding. quoted in Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character, pt. 2, ch. 13 (1988).
  • 36.
    Modern civilization has bred a race with brains like those of rabbits and we who are the heirs of the witch-doctor and the voodoo. We artists who have been so long the despised are about to take over control.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Egoist (London, February 1914).
  • 37.
    There is natural ignorance and there is artificial ignorance. I should say at the present moment the artificial ignorance is about eighty-five per cent.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963).
  • 38.
    There is no topic ... more soporific and generally boring than the topic of Ireland as Ireland, as a nation.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. New Age (London, Jan. 8, 1920).
  • 39.
    Genius ... is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one, and where the man of talent sees two or three, plus the ability to register that multiple perception in the material of his art.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Jefferson and/or Mussolini, Liveright (1935).
  • 40.
    It would be about as easy for an American to become a Chinaman or a Hindoo as for him to acquire an Englishness or a Frenchness or a European-ness that is more than half skin deep.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. New Age (London, November 14, 1912).
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