Pound, Ezra

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Pound, Ezra Gender: M
Ezra Weston Loomis Pound
born on 30 October 1885 at 15:00 (= 3:00 PM )
Place Hailey, Idaho, 43n31, 114w19
Timezone PST h8w (is standard time)
Data source
Rodden Rating B
Collector: Blackwell
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_scocol.18.gif 07°43' s_mo.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 10°28 Asc.s_aricol.18.gif 00°11'


American writer, poet, essayist and critic, acknowledged by many major English and American poets as being more responsible for the twentieth century revolution in poetry than any other individual. Pound, using insanity as a defense, was remanded to a mental institution for twelve years by the U.S. government when he was indicted for treason. He was released in 1958.

Pound was the only child of Homer Loomis and Isabel Weston, who could both trace their ancestry to Colonial New England. His grandfather, Thaddeus Coleman Pound, made a fortune in Wisconsin lumber (issuing his own company scrip until the government stopped him) before entering Republican politics and Congress. Homer was an assayer at the government land office in Hailey, ID and became, during Pound's youth, an assistant assayer at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. The family moved there in 1889 and finally settled in the suburb of Wyncote in 1891. Pound studied at Cheltenham Military Academy and Cheltenham High School.

At the age of 15 he entered the University of Pennsylvania. Even though he was robust, Pound shunned athletics except for fencing and tennis and wrote daily sonnets. He transferred to Hamilton College in Clinton, NY at the beginning of his junior year. There, he discovered Provencal poetry under Professor William Shephard. After graduating with a Ph.D. degree in June 1905, he returned to the University of Pennsylvania for graduate work in Romantics and English literature. He received his M.A. in June 1906 and went to Europe on a fellowship grant. When the grant was not renewed he returned to the U.S. and taught French and Spanish at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana from September 1907 to mid-winter when he was dismissed as a "Latin Quarter type."

Heading back to Europe he arrived in Gibraltar in 1908 and then to Venice, where, in June 1908 he paid A. Antonini eight dollars to print "A Lume Spento," his first collection of poems. He continued on to London where he lectured during two winters at the Regent Street Polytechnic Institute. In April 1909, fame came to him overnight with the publication of a collection of poems called "Personae." His fame reached the U.S. and when he returned there in 1910 he found himself well known, particularly for "Ballad of the Goodly Fere." He had begun to expand his metric virtuosity outside the tradition dominated by Shakespeare, Milton, and Tennyson. His translations from Anglo-Saxon, medieval Provencal, medieval Tuscan, and ancient Roman, scattered through "Ripostes," 1912, "Lustra," 1916 and "Umbra," 1920, gave the originals a fresh birth in our time without depriving them of the rhythms that gave English verse new possibilities. Pound also translated "Cathay," 1915, "Certain Noble Plays of Japan," 1916, "Ta Hio," 1928, "The Confucian Odes," 1954 and Sophocles' "Women of Trachis," 1957.

The burly figured Pound cut a colorful figure with his red hair and beard before and during WWI in London. His generosity to other writers was particularly notable from 1914 to 1924 where he brought T.S. Eliot and James Joyce into print and recognition. He had an eager inquisitiveness, a conviction that literature was the greatest good in the life of mankind. His editing pencil cut Eliot's original "Waste Land" in half and brought William Butler Yeats down from abstraction and artifice to his more natural and enduring later work. Pound was Yeats' secretary for three successive winters from 1913-1914. His influence can be traced through more than 50 magazines published between 1912 and 1939. Among these he was the London editor of "Poetry," literary editor of "The Egoist," and foreign editor of the "Little Review." In 1924, he continued his international correspondence and patronage of other writers after moving to Rapallo, Italy.

During the world depression of the 1930s Pound's concern and involvement with economics increased and he wrote a series of Money Pamphlets. Originally published in Italy and then England, the pamphlets included "An Introduction to the Economic Nature of the United Sates," "Gold and Work," "What Is Money For?," "Social Credit," and "America, Roosevelt, and the Causes of the Present War."

His emphasis changed over the years and his identification with American Social Creditors faded as he began to identify with the Mussolini regime. He idolized Mussolini and was distraught when Mussolini was booted out in the summer of 1943. He ascribed all the economic troubles of the world to the money and banking system in operation in England and the U.S. where money and credit were controlled and misused by private forces. Pound was never a pure Social Creditor, but his rage against usury remained the same and never lost its basis in Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. After an absence of 28 years, Pound visited the U.S. in 1939 and after failing to meet with President Franklin Roosevelt, he discussed economics with Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace and several Congressmen. Returning to Italy, Pound broadcast on the American Hour of Rome Radio two or three times a week beginning January 1941.

After the U.S. entered WWII, he went off the air and attempted to board the last diplomatic train taking Americans out of Italy but was stopped by American officials. On 29 January 1942 Pound resumed his broadcasts after he agreed with the Italian government that "he never be asked to say anything contrary to his conscience...or to his duties as an American citizen."

When the victorious American army overran Italy in the spring of 1945, Pound was arrested for treason and eventually flown to Washington, DC in November 1945. He first saw his lawyer on 20 November 1945 and it was decided that he would plead insanity. He later was indicted for treason (propaganda for an enemy state by radio), arraigned, and submitted to psychiatric examination. A judge and jury convened on 13 February 1946 and concluded Pound was "mentally unfit" for trial and remanded him to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in the Washington. suburb of Anacostia. He remained there for 12 years and continued to produce poetry.

While confined in 1948, he was awarded the Bollingen Prize in Poetry for his "Pisan Cantos." Members of Congress felt outrage when they learned that the government was officially honoring a man who only a few years before had been the hired hand of an enemy government. The furor continued but no one would touch the case. Finally, in 1957 with public opinion and political climates cooled enough Robert Frost and Archibald MacLeish persuaded the Eisenhower Administration to consider releasing Pound. The indictment against Pound was dropped on 18 April 1958 and he was released from St. Elizabeth's. In July he returned to Italy to continue working.

He married Dorothy Shakespeare, a native of England, in April 1914. They had a son, Omar Shakespeare and a daughter, Princess Mary de Rachewiltz. During his time in Italy, Pound kept an American-born mistress, Olga Rudge. For three weeks every month he would divide his time between the apartment he shared with Dorothy and the house he shared with Olga. The fourth week he would spend in Rome hobnobbing with Fascist officials, the military brass, and recording a month's worth of radio broadcasts.

After being released from St. Elizabeth's, Pound returned to Naples to live out 15 more years in increasing sadness, in and out of clinics and nursing homes. In the last years he sunk into long, brooding silences. He died on 1 November 1972 in Venice, Italy.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with di Prima, Diane (born 6 August 1934). Notes: Penpals
  • friend relationship with Eliot, T.S. (born 26 September 1888)
  • role played of/by Ganz, Bruno (born 22 March 1941). Notes: 1989 film "The Legendary Life of Ernest Hemingway"


  • Crime : Trial dates 26 July 1943 (Indicted for treason)
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  • Crime : Arrest 18 November 1945 in Washington (Arrives in Washington on treason charges)
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  • Social : Deinstitutionalized - prison, hospital 7 May 1958 in Washington (St. Elizabeth's Asylum, 13 years)
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  • Family : Change residence 9 July 1958 in Naples (Returned home to Italy following incarceration)
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  • Death, Cause unspecified 1 November 1972 at 8:00 PM in Venice (Age 87 plus two days)
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Source Notes

Arthur Blackwell quotes Humphrey Carpenter, "A Serious Character, The Life of Ezra Pound," 1988, p.1.


  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Nervous Breakdown (1945-58)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (Two)
  • Passions : Criminal Perpetrator : Civil/ Political (Indicted for treason)
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Radio/ D.J./ Announcer (Radio broadcaster of propanganda)
  • Vocation : Politics : Party Affiliation (Fascist)
  • Vocation : Writers : Critic
  • Vocation : Writers : Magazine/ newsletter (Essayist and critic)
  • Vocation : Writers : Poet
  • Notable : Book Collection : American Book