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Quotations From EZRA POUND


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  • It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse. It is obviously much easier to find inhabitants for an inferno or even a purgatorio.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963).
  • 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).
  • 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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  • Adolf Hitler was a Jeanne d'Arc, a saint. He was a martyr. Like many martyrs, he held extreme views.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Interview in Philadelphia Record and Chicago Sun (May 9, 1945).
  • Wars are made to make debt.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963).
  • Colloquial poetry is to the real art as the barber's wax dummy is to sculpture.
    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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  • I have always thought the suicide shd/ bump off at least one swine before taking off for parts unknown.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. letter, Sept. 10, 1956, to poet Archibald MacLeish. quoted in Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character, pt. 5, ch. 3 (1988).

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  • It ought to be illegal for an artist to marry.... If the artist must marry let him find someone more interested in art, or his art, or the artist part of him, than in him. After which let them take tea together three times a week.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Letter, 1909, to his mother. quoted in Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character, pt. 2, ch. 3 (1988).

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  • The worst mistake I made was that stupid, suburban prejudice of anti-Semitism.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. quoted in Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character, pt. 5 (1988). Said in conversation with Allen Ginsberg in June 1968.

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  • Good art however "immoral" is wholly a thing of virtue. ... Good art can NOT be immoral. By good art I mean art that bears true witness, I mean the art that is most precise.
    Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. quoted in Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character, pt. 2, ch. 10 (1988). Egoist (London, 1913).
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