U. T. Dallas to Host Symposium Nov. 24 On Great 20th Century Poet Ezra Pound

The University of Texas at Dallas will host a special literary symposium on poet Ezra Pound on Sunday, Nov. 24, in the Jonsson Building on campus, beginning at 2 p.m. Pound is considered by many to be the greatest poet of the 20th century. He was also anti-Semitic and a supporter of Mussolini. Pound was indicted for treason in 1943, tried and declared insane. He was confined for more than 12 years at St. Elizabeths Hospital. He died in Venice in November 1972. The symposium marks the 30th anniversary of his death.

The symposium will examine both sides of this controversial figure. It will be divided into three sessions, all free and open to the public. The first two will be held in Room JO 3.516, and the third session will be held in Room JO 2.604, the Jonsson Performance Hall.

Session one, entitled “Pound and 20th Century Poetry,” will be presided over by Professor Rainer Schulte and will include a talk, Ill miglior fabbro? Pound’s editing of The Waste Land, given by Professor Milton Cohen, and Pound, Williams, Eliot: A record of two friendships and one enmity, given by Professor Tim Redman. It begins at 2pm. Open discussion follows the talks.

Session two, “Pound’s Anti-Semitism,” will begin at 3:30 p.m. and will be chaired by Professor Zsuzsanna Oszvath. It will include a talk, Suburban Prejudice: Pound’s anti-Semitism at St. Elizabeths, given by Ellen Cardona, and Ezra Pound and Responses to the Holocaust, given by Professor Wendy Flory. Discussion will follow the talks.

Session three, “Creative Responses to Pound,” will begin at 5 p.m. and will feature a staged reading of an original play “The Dark Nut of the Soul: Pound at St. Elizabeths” by Ph.D. candidate Michael Alleman in partial fulfillment of his doctorial thesis. A feedback session will follow the reading.

For information about the many musical, arts, theatre, dance and other performances and exhibitions held throughout the year at UTD, please call 972-UTD-ARTS (972-883-2787), e-mail [email protected] or visit the School of Arts and Humanities’ web site at Persons with disabilities needing special accommodations may call 972-883-2982, Texas Relay Operator: 1-800-RELAYVV.

About Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound was born in Idaho and brought up in Philadelphia, where his father worked for the U.S. Mint. He was educated at Pennsylvania University and at Hamilton College, New York. After teaching briefly, Pound went to Europe in 1908, settling in London, where his poetry collection, “Personae” (1909), was received with acclaim. He soon became a central figure in avant-garde circles and was one of the first to recognize and promote the poetry of the American poet Robert Frost, then living in England, and two other expatriate poets, H.D. and T. S. Eliot. He was also instrumental in persuading the celebrated Irish poet William Butler Yeats, with whom he worked, to adopt a new style of composition which brought Yeats a second lease of poetic life. During this time, Pound also worked tirelessly in the modernist cause, helping such key figures as James Joyce to publish their early work.

In 1915, Pound published his free translation of Chinese poetry, “Cathay,” which was well received. In the following years, he published further books of poetry, as well as a volume of criticism. Depressed by the post-war atmosphere in Britain, however, he left for Paris in 1920, after having had published the two works that are often considered his most fully achieved efforts: “Homage to Sextus Propertius” (1919) and “Hugh Selwyn Mauberly” (1920). In Paris, Pound recognised the talent of the young American novelist Ernest Hemingway and at Eliot’s invitation edited “The Waste Land,” cutting it drastically. He also acted as correspondent for the American literary magazine, The Dial. In 1924, he left Paris and moved to Rapallo, Italy.

At Rapallo, Pound developed “The Cantos,” the enormously long, ambitious work he had begun in 1915. He had published A Draft of XXX Cantos in 1930, following it with further Canto publications in 1934, 1937 and 1940. Together with Rudge, he also arranged a series of concerts and seminars in Rapallo and played a key part in the rediscovery of the Italian composer Vivaldi. His prose works included “Make It New” (1934) and “Guide to Kulchur” (1938).

He also wrote on monetary reform and had published the political text “Jefferson and/or Mussolini” (1935). In it, Pound proclaimed his admiration for fascist politics and for the Italian dictator, whom he had met in 1933.

Between 1941 and 1943, Pound made hundreds of broadcasts from Rome to the United States on behalf of the Mussolini regime, many of an anti-Semitic nature, condemning the U.S. war effort and praising the Fascist enterprise. In 1945, he was interned by U.S. forces in a camp for army criminals, where he nevertheless managed to write the “Pisan Canto,” published later in 1948 and regarded by many critics as one of his finest achievements. Back in the United States, he was declared unfit to face charges of treason and confined for 12 years in a hospital for the criminally insane. In 1949, he was awarded the Bollingen Prize for Poetry.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].