There are so many different Ezra Pounds: the expatriate poet, founder of Imagism, redactor of The Waste Land, explicator of troubadours — exponent of Social Credit, Vivaldi, Chinese ideogram — secretary to Yeats, servant to Mussolini — a poet half Futurist, half Pre-Raphaelite — translator, composer, editor, pedagogue, critic … and sometime crank. It’s in that last guise that Pound recently surfaced on Esquire‘s website, in John H. Richardson’s genealogy of the Tea Party Movement. Here is a choice excerpt:
I’m not saying the Tea Partiers are all racists or anti-Semites. On the contrary, I’m certain that most of them are not. But in the dream logic that moves masses of people, the Ezra Pound Connection explains everything. A populist social movement inspired by the elitists at the Chicago School of Economics? A president who is supposed to be a socialist and also, at the same time, a craven servant of Goldman Sachs? It all makes perfect sense when you start from the “patriotic poet” who was also guilty of treason, who was famous both for his kindness and his cruelty.
Does any modernist poet have a scrapbook as interesting as Pound’s? Here’s another clipping for it.