Ezra Pound's Pisan Imprisonment

On the infamous modernist poet's incarceration
Ezra Pound. Photograph: Richard Avedon.
Ben Parker reflects on poet Ezra Pound's Pisan imprisonment in this month's Stride Magazine:
Ezra Pound was a writer of immense energy and imaginative sensitivity; his writing, particularly his early writing, suggests someone who lived without skin, his nerves sparking poetry at the slightest impact. The nature of his imprisonment seems to offer a fitting metaphor for this poet: an open cage in which he was exposed to the world 24 hours a day, total vision in contrast to the small, high window we normally associate with incarceration. To stand in this place and try to reconcile the reality of the scenery with those moments of beautiful calm that punctuate the sprawling and often impenetrable Cantos, one comes face to face with the fact of creative genius: there is nothing here to warrant the work that it produced. As with all sources of inspiration there is nothing intrinsic in the material which leads to art; it is not the ingredients that are important, but the crucible in which they are mixed. One is reminded of the line by a quite different poet, Simon Armitage, 'it ain't what you do, it's what it does to you.' [Read more]
Source: Ben Parker, 'The open cage of poetry', Stride Magazine, January 2011