Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ezra Pound's WWII radio broadcast scripts online

The worst embarrassment in the history of American Modernism is the fact that one of its greatest poets, Ezra Pound, passed through World War Two with his lips firmly pressed to Benito Mussolini's ass. When Pound did come up for air during those years, it was only to spew lame-brained, pro-fascist, anti-Semitic bile over Mussolini-controlled radio. This should serve to remind us that great poets can also be major assholes. Harold Bloom has written that Pound's broadcasts "ought to be read by admirers of his poetry, since they feature virulent anti-Semitic diatribes, exactly contemporary with Hitler's Holocaust..." There is also the matter of The Cantos, Pound's large-scale masterpiece and one of the undeniable monuments of Modernism. Some Pound scholars would prefer to think that the poet of the Cantos is somehow a different man from the fascist ranter of the radio broadcasts, but even a cursory reading of the Cantos shows that this is hardly the case. Some of the poems are infected with the same strains of anti-Semitism and fascism we find nakedly displayed in the broadcasts.

I've recently discovered that all of Pound's scripts are now online at the following webpage: Ezra Pound WWII Broadcasts. Anyone interested in reading Pound's worst writings (that judgment is both moral and aesthetic) can now do so.

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