Why is Ezra Pound considered a fascist

Handke, Pound & Co: The Poets' Desire for Political Influence

Sometimes it is precisely the most progressive poets who desire to exchange ideas with representatives of the state as they do with their own kind. In May 1945, the US military authorities took their compatriot Ezra Pound into custody. Pound, great lyricist of US modernism, was living in Rapallo as a sworn partisan of the Italian fascists. The reputation of an eccentric troublemaker who had repeatedly raised his voice against America on the radio in his host country hadn't fallen into the lap of the man from Hailey, Idaho. Pound (1885–1972) lived and wrote poetry knowing that the world must be freed immediately from the yoke of high finance.

The bizarre idea that initiators in business and politics would follow the standards of curious poets is definitely not grown on the crap of Peter Handke. The fate of Pound exemplifies what happens when artists pass the invisible line that strictly separates the fields of politics and literature. You will e.g. B. entrusted to the care of psychiatry.

Important advice

Pound, considered a traitor by the US authorities, escaped the electric chair by a hair's breadth. On the occasion of his arrest, he had asked to speak to Truman and Stalin personally: he had advice of the utmost importance to give them.

Ezra Pound did not see himself alone as the author of seemingly strange long poems, the Cantos. Eliot's friend and sponsor James Joyce had an inner mission. "Usury" appeared to him to be the culprit that plunges millions of people into poverty: the lending and interest policy of international donors. The inevitable difference between prices and purchasing power inevitably leads to cyclical economic crises. High finance would have a considerable interest in provoking wars for the sake of profits.

Not always to the best of his poetry, Pound became a kind of itinerant preacher, and soon settled in northern Italy. He wanted to be brought together with Franklin D. Roosevelt: 20 minutes, that was the poet's calculation, and the US President would be completely convinced of Pound's concerns!

The mandate of truth

Poetic truth-tellers are not charlatans. What they say is - at least in their eyes - characterized by a high degree of commitment. Only they, the poets, have the mandate to reveal the spiritual reality behind the epiphany of beauty.

The world has to be the way it (never) was again. It should be brought into harmony with its true nature. It is not the poets that conquer the beautiful. It is rather the other way round: it is the beautiful that takes hold of the poet and seer. It takes it for itself, chooses it as its blind tool.

In this respect, the reference to the obligation through beauty is a moral, not an aesthetic, imperative. This is about the restoration of a tradition that should be worthy and right and thus also politically binding.

Anger at war correspondents

Handke's glowing anger at journalistic war reporting is fed by this source. He criticizes the journalistic exploitation compulsions, what seems to him secondary and derived about them. Against them he throws the poet's word into the balance. It should be the last one that is right even with statesmen.

This is the only way to explain why the Norwegian Knut Hamsun, winner of the 1920 Nobel Prize for Literature and incorrigible Nazi sympathizer, believed that Adolf Hitler would become wax in his hands at a meeting in 1943. The old man fought his stage fright with a fourfold cognac before the meeting. The meeting ended in scandal. Hamsun did not get through to the "Gröfaz" with his political concerns. He uttered the bitter sentence about the conclusion of the interview: "We are talking against a wall." It remained untranslated.

Other great modern poets express their unease about a world that is getting out of hand. Louis-Ferdinand Céline not only wrote ingenious novels like Death on credit. In them he poured mockery over society's hypocrisy. To do this, he used a gutter language that dissolved all hollow-sounding phrases as if with acid. At the same time, Celine was a disgusting anti-Semite. An author of his caliber should have shied away from sentences like "The Jews are our misfortune". It's going to be your debut Journey to the end of the night (1932) still find it difficult to do without. (Ronald Pohl, November 8, 2019)