Ezra Pound (1885-1972)

A selective list of literary criticism for modernist poet Ezra Pound, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars, articles published in reviewed sources, and web sites that adhere to the Modern Language Association Guidelines for Web Pages


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introduction & biography

"Ezra Pound." Excerpts of influential critical discussions of the following poems by Pound: A Pact, In a Station of the Metro, Portrait d'une Femme, The River-Merchant's Wife, Canto 1, Canto 9, Canto 45, Canto 81, Canto 116, Notes for CXVII. Also, articles on Pound's life and career, excerpts from Blast, Lawrence Rainey discusses the Malatesta Cantos and how through the figure of Sigismondo Malatesta Pound merged his concept of patronage with the emerging culture of Fascism. Also Pound and Fascism, Selected World War II Broadcasts, on Pound on Gender, an Ezra Pound Exhibit, and more. Ed. Cary Nelson, Modern American Poetry, U of Illinois.

"Ezra Pound." A brief biography. Also, a short piece, "Groundbreaking Book: The Cantos by Ezra Pound (1925)" and an article by poet Mark Doty on "In a Station of the Metro." Academy of American Poets.

"Ezra Pound." An encyclopedia-type article on Pound, covers his biography, major works, and critical reception, includes samples of his poems. Poetry Foundation.

Hammer, Langdon. Lecture 8 - Imagism. "The Imagist school is defined, in part through the prose of Ezra Pound. Representative examples of Imagist poetry are examined, particularly Hilda Doolittle's 'Garden,' 'Sea Rose,' and 'Oread.' Pound's early poem, 'In a Station of the Metro,' and Pound's comment on the poem's composition are studied as Imagist statements. His work with foreign languages, particularly Chinese, is considered in relation to Imagism in the poems 'Jewel Stairs' Grievance' and 'River Merchant's Wife: A Letter.'" Audio, video, and transcript from Professor Hammer's class at Yale, ENGL 310: Modern Poetry, Spring, 2007.

Hammer, Langdon. Lecture 9 - Ezra Pound. "The lecture introduces the poetry of Ezra Pound. Tensions in Pound's personality and career are considered, particularly in terms of his relationships with other poets and his fascism and anti-capitalism. The poem 'The Seafarer' is examined as a quintessentially Poundian project in its treatment and translation of poetic forms. The first Canto of his epic project, The Cantos, is analyzed as a meditation on the process of expressing and engaging with history and literary tradition." Audio, video, and transcript from Professor Hammer's class at Yale, ENGL 310: Modern Poetry, Spring, 2007.

Wilson, Peter. "Ezra Pound." An introduction, from the Literary Encyclopedia, 30 June 2002. On A Quinzaine for this Yule (1908); A Lume Spento (1908); Personae (1909); Exultations (1909); Canzoni (1911); Ripostes of Ezra Pound (1912); Cathay (1915) [subscription service].

"Ezra Pound." A very brief introduction from educational publisher Heath.

"Ezra Pound." A teacher's guide, from Heath.

"Ezra Pound." A very short introduction to Pound from educational publisher Gale/Cengage.

"Lament of the Frontier Guard." Recounts the circumstances when Pound's friend Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, while serving as a soldier in World War I, recieved Pound's book Cathay. The Atlantic Jan. 2005.

"On Ezra Pound." About the poetry Pound wrote during the twelve years he was confined to a ward for the criminally insane at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C., and Pound's influence on Washington poetry. By Rod Jellema, in Beltway: A Poetry Quarterly.


literary criticism

Barton, Edwin J. "On The Ezra Pound/ Marshall McLuhan Correspondence." Barton explores the similarity in the writing styles of Pound and Marshall McLuhan. McLuhan Studies Journal 1, 1.

Beach, Christopher. A complete book length critical study available online, ABC of Influence: Ezra Pound and the Remaking of American Poetic Tradition. (U of California P, 1992) from the California Digital Library. "In this first full-length study of Pound's influence on American poetry after World War II, Beach argues that Pound's experimental mode created a new tradition of poetic writing in America. Often neglected by academic critics and excluded from the "canon" of American poetic writing, Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, and later members of this experimental tradition have maintained the sense of an American avant garde in keeping with Pound's modernist experiments of the 1910s and 1920s."

Coyle, Michael, ed. A review of Ezra Pound and African-American Modernism (National Poetry Foundation 2001). Reviewer Steven Yao notes, "Pursuing avenues opened up by the work of [Toni] Morrison and [Michael] North, Ezra Pound and African-American Modernism features a wide variety of contributions that trace the extended and diverse connections between the most controversial of canonical modernist writers and various aspects and representatives of African-American culture during the early part of the twentieth century." Twentieth Century Literature Fall 2004 [gone].

Davie, Donald. "Ezra Pound Abandons the English." Davie mulls over the remark, made by an American, "What Pound did to English literature and British sensibilities doesn’t seem forgivable." Poetry Nation 4 (1975).

Dasenbrock, Reed Way. "Paradiso ma non troppo: The Place of the Lyric Dante in the Late Cantos of Ezra Pound." Dasenbrock poses the question, "If we have long recognized a disanalogy in terms of content and we now have begun to see a disanalogy in terms of form, how are we to explain the role Dante clearly plays in Pound's poem, particularly in the Late Cantos?" Comparative Literature Winter 2005 [first page of article only].

Goya, José Manuel Losada. "Poetic Image and Tradition in Western European Modernism: Pound, Lorca, Claudel." CLCWeb 1, 2 (1999).

Kenner, Hugh. Kenner's The Pound Era is reviewed by Albert Gelpi in American Literature 44, 3 (Nov. 1972) [first page of article only].

MacLow, Jackson. Poet Jackson MacLow on Ezra Pound and Pound's anti-semitism. From a list posting, at Electronic Poetry Center.

Morgan, Frederick. "Journal Entry: Final Meeting with Ezra Pound." The Hudson Review Autumn 2004.

Morse, Jonathan. "The Startle Reflex: Some Episodes from the Lives of Ezra Pound’s Language." Readable, erudite, lengthy article from the always excellent Jacket 34 (Oct. 2007).

Northcutt, William M. "What the Architecture Said: A Benjaminian Reading of Ezra Pound's Quest for the Paradiso." EESE Sept. 1996.

Perloff, Marjorie. "What other 20th-century poet has had so ambitious a project? .... As these new volumes remind us [Sieburth's editions of Poems and Translations and The Cantos], Pound was one of the few Modernist poets with whom the 21st century must come to terms." Boston Review April/May 2004.

Perloff, Marjorie. On Pound's anti-semitism, from a discussion list posting.

Pound, Omar and Robert Spoo, eds. A review of Ezra and Dorothy Pound, Letters in Captivity 1945-1946 (Oxford UP 1999) reviewed by Marjorie Perloff, Electronic Poetry Center. Another review by Louis Dudek, Antigonish Review 123.

Romer, Stephen. "The Great Imitator." On Pound's reputation, development, and the new Richard Sieburth edition of his poetry for Library of America. "Pound was never overly selective in what he laid before the public, very unlike the scrupulous Eliot. In this volume we have all of his early poems, or "stale cream puffs" as he dubbed them. But as we move through the volumes that succeed it, we witness, in fascinating close-up, the making of a poet." The Guardian 3 July 2004.

Selby, Nick. "Fascist Language in The Adams Cantos of Ezra Pound." Selby contends that Cantos LXII to LXXII, devoted to a retelling of the life of John Quincy Adams, mark a turning for Pound towards an authoritarian discourse of history that propels him inexorably towards espousal of Mussolini's Fascism. Journal of American Studies of Turkey 2 (1995).

Sieburth, Richard, ed. Ezra Pound Poems and Translations (Library of America, 2003). Comprehensive critical edition of Pound's poetry, excepting The Cantos, publisher's page. Note on the text.

Sieburth, Richard, ed. "Ezra Pound." An extensive collection of Pound reading his works, audio files at Pennsound (U of Pennsylvania).

(removed) Tapscott, Stephen. "In Praise of Bad Translation: Ezra Pound and the Cultural Work of Translation." Prof. Tapscott's, Modern Poetry, MIT Open CourseWare, Spring 2002.

Xie, Ming. "Elegy and Personae in Ezra Pound's Cathay." ELH 60, 1 (Spring 1993) [first page of article only].


web sites & libraries

"The Music of Ezra Pound," remarks on Pound's musical compositions, and audio excerpts from the operas and pieces for solo violin, from the performing group Other Minds.

"The Twentieth Century: American Modernist Writers." A Yale Library exhibition documents the influence of Oriental aesthetics on American Modernists including Ezra Pound and others.

"Ezra Pound-related Collections." Catalog of the Pound manuscripts at the U of Indiana.

(removed) Volume 16 of the journal The New Age, issues from November 5, 1914 to April 29, 1915. Introductory article and access to issues of the journal. Articles by Ezra Pound on Imagisme, Vorticism, W.B. Yeats and James Joyce. From The Modernist Journals Project, Brown U.


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