EZRA POUND (1885-1972) was born in a small mining town in Idaho and died in Venice, Italy. In his eighty-seven years, he changed the face of American poetry. A restless, tireless advocate for his artistic views and the authors who shared them, he also led an extremely eventful life, clamoring for change, devolving into madness, attacking his own country and living, for a while, as a prisoner of the United States Army, who kept him in an outdoor cage. His impact on American literature is as hard to understand as it is to overstate.
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In 1818, the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley published his classic poem “Ozymandias,” depicting the fallen statue of a once-powerful king whose inscription “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!” has long since crumbled into the desert. A hundred years later, a set of Modernist poets revisited the subject of ruins, injecting the poetic trope with some surprising new ideas. Professor Bill Hogan of Providence College joins Jacke for a look at the treatment of ruins in the poetry of H.D. (1886-1961), William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Robert Frost (1874-1963), and Wallace Stevens (1879-1955).
“Ozymandias” (1818) – Percy Bysshe Shelley
“The Walls Do Not Fall” (1944) – H.D.
“The Tower” (1928) – W.B. Yeats
“The Directive” (1946) – Robert Frost
“The Anecdote of the Jar” (1919) and “The Man on the Dump” (1939) – Wallace Stevens
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“Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).