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Ezra Pound’s Daughter Struggles to Wrest the Poet’s Legacy from Italian Fascists

Ezra Pound with his daughter and his father

It’s a thorny issue. Separating the sublime art from the all too flawed life. It’s happened with Larkin, Wagner and countless others. And let’s not forget that in recent years, Larkin has been named Britain’s best loved poet and best post-war poet despite his nasty words about black people and women among other things.

Is Pound irredeemable? Is this any surprise? Is it possible to separate the human from the work especially in the case of poetry, which more than any other art form reflects the particular sensibilities of the creator.

As I said, it’s a sticky wicket. The Guardian talks to Ezra Pound’s daughter.

3 responses »

  1. Sheila Hamilton

    Am not sure you can separate the flawed life from the sublime art when the person concerned has broadcast those flaws on radio.

    Pound’s daughter says (by way of mitigation) that Pound “only” quoted what Mussolini was saying. But why did he quote what M. was saying, and go on the radio to quote it ? Because he agreed with it. He may well have regretted all this later on, the Mussolini admiration, the anti-semitism, but that’s not something your average neo-Fascist is going to grasp.

    • Yes, I’m inclined to agree with you Sheila. For the same reason but to a lesser intensity, my admiration of some of Philip Larkin’s poetry (and I own up that I haven’t read a lot of his poetry) is always tarnished by what I know of his opinion of people like me. A woman AND black!

      • Sheila Hamilton

        I have trouble with Larkin too, Dzifa. His issues around women, black people, the Empire (I hesitate to dignify them with the word “ideas”) very much get in the way when I read his poems. And I can’t help feeling that his jingoism certainly does stem from the same source as a lot of the poetry, this grumpy Litte Englander-ism. The poems are well put together, of course, but too many of them embody (for me) a lack of generosity toward the human.

        There is a poem of his which I do love, “Dublinesque”, which is warm and tender and not grumpy.

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