When I carefully consider the curious habits of dogs
I am compelled to conclude
That man is the superior animal.
When I consider the curious habits of man
I confess, my friend, I am puzzled.
— Ezra Pound
Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (1885 – 1972) was born in Hailey, Idaho and was an American expatriate poet. During his stay in London in the early 20th century as foreign editor of several American literary magazines, he helped discover and shape the work of contemporaries such as T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Robert Frost and Ernest Hemingway. His political views ensure that his work remains controversial; in 1933 Time magazine called him “a cat that walks by himself, tenaciously unhousebroken and very unsafe for children.” Hemingway nevertheless wrote: “The best of Pound’s writing – and it is in the Cantos – will last as long as there is any literature.”
I resolved that at 30 I would know more about poetry than any man living, that I would know what was accounted poetry everywhere, what part of poetry was “indestructible,” what part could not be lost by translation and – scarcely less important – what effects were obtainable in one language only and were utterly incapable of being translated. In this search I learned more or less of nine foreign languages, I read Oriental stuff in translations, I fought every University regulation and every professor who tried to make me learn anything except this, or who bothered me with “requirements for degrees.”