EZRA POUND: The Scapegoat
of Modern Poetry

. . . the goat shall bear upon him all their
iniquities unto a land which is cut off; and
he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

ANY WAY you look at it, writing about Ezra Pound and his poetry is an unpleasant business. It is unpleasant for his friends and fellow travelers, who must either by-pass or explain away the various Pound scandals; just as unpleasant for his ill-wishers and critics; and unpleasant as well for the scholars, book reviewers, and historians of the age who find him looming up menacingly from the card catalogue. Pound is not the kind of writer who once did something wrong and can now be forgiven in the mellowness of time. It is hard to forgive him because everything he did wrong he insists was right. He is righteous about his wrongness; he forces his worst upon us wherever we meet him, and there is no escaping it.

People who try to minimize Pound's sins, errors, and crimes are simply playing a game that Pound himself refuses to play. Critics who would like to shelve the ugly side of Pound's poetry for its virtues are also playing a game that Pound refuses to have a hand in. Of all the modern didactic poets there is

-61-

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In Defense of Ignorance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • To the Reader ix
  • The Critic In Spite of Himself 3
  • T. S. Eliot: the Death Of Literary Judgment 35
  • Ezra Pound: the Scapegoat Of Modern Poetry 61
  • W. B. Yeats: Trial By Culture 87
  • The Retreat of W. H. Auden 115
  • William Carlos Williams: The True Contemporary 143
  • Dylan Thomas 171
  • The First White Aboriginal 187
  • The Jewish Writer In America 205
  • Poets and Psychologists 219
  • The Unemployed Magician 239
  • What is Not Poetry? 263
  • Poets of the Cosmic Consciousness 287
  • The Greatest Living Author 313
  • About the Author *
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