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Salvaging Ezra Pound

The whipping boy of western poetry deserves better

By Robert Chandler   October 2001

The tone and title of Michael Lind’s “Poetical Correctness” in the July Prospect give the impression that he is attacking an entrenched orthodoxy. There is nothing daring, however, about criticising Ezra Pound-no major poet of the last century is less fashionable. Pound’s place in our culture is a little like Sigmund Freud’s: Pound also suffers from being simultaneously over-familiar and unknown. Nine tenths of the advice offered at creative writing workshops is taken third-hand from Pound’s ABC of Reading; too few people, however, read Pound himself.

Many of Lind’s criticisms of Pound are justified. Pound’s work is often incomprehensible, and…

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