Name that Poet: “A cat that walks by himself”

“He defends [his friends] when they are attacked, he gets them into magazines and out of jail. … He writes articles about them. He introduces them to wealthy women. He gets publishers to take their books. He sits up all night with them when they claim to be dying … he advances them hospital expenses and dissuades them from suicide.” – Hemmingway, 1925


Who is influential individual described above?

Need a few more clues?

  • He was arrested for treason by American forces in Italy in 1945. He spent months in detention in a U.S. military camp in Pisa, including 25 days in a six-by-six-foot outdoor steel cage that he said triggered a mental breakdown.
  • 1933 Time magazine called him “a cat that walks by himself, tenaciously unhousebroken and very unsafe for children.”
  • Best known for his Ripostes (1912), Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920) and his unfinished 120-section epic, The Cantos (1917–1969).

None other than Ezra Pound, illustrious and controversial wordsmith whose distinct modern style stressed the importance of clarity and economy of language. He was never one to say more than he wished, and though renowned for his longer works, his shorter poems also pack a hefty punch.

The Plunge – Ezra Pound

I would bathe myself in strangeness:
These comforts heaped upon me, smother me!
I burn, I scald so for the new,
New friends, new faces,
Oh to be out of this,
This that is all I wanted
– save the new.

And you,
Love, you the much, the more desired!
Do I not loathe all walls, streets, stones,
All mire, mist, all fog,
All ways of traffic?
You, I wold have flow over me like water,
Oh, but far out of this!
Grass, and low fields, and hills,
And sun,
Oh, sun enough!
Out, and alone, among some
Alien people!

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One thought on “Name that Poet: “A cat that walks by himself”

  1. in the cracks of darkness we find strange allies, my exposure to Ezra comes from Eliot, who I adore, so naturally I would gravitate to the art he adores. Pound’s fascist connections dwindle not his impact on postmodern poetry, plus without him, I’m not sure we would even have the Waste Land. When I opened my e-mail to the Hemingway quote, I was like, “ahhh I know this one!” The one time I could’ve won a million dollars on jeopardy. Can you imagine sitting in a room with Hemingway and Pound? They were both so bull-headed.

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