Ezra Pound and the Tea Party: Troubled Associations in America
— By Edgar Garcia | February 22, 2010
Ezra Pound’s radical poetics have had claimants and followers as far ranging as Bunting to Ginsberg, and Zukofsky to Creeley and Olson. The experimental Pound has usually found a welcome abode among experimentalists. But his heirs are not entirely literary — and often not exactly clear about how they claim lineage to Pound, or why they would even choose to do so. A recent article in Esquire reveals that Pound has been coming up with increasing frequency in the emails of the American Tea Party Movement (the Tea Baggers), in addition to popping up in the more fringe, racially motivated websites of the movement. It seems that nobody bothered to tell them that Pound was a staunch anti-provincialist, writing in essays like Provincialism: The Enemy that “provincialism, this ignorance of the nature and custom of foreign peoples, this desire to coerce others, this desire for uniformity-uniformity always based on the temperment of the particular provincial desiring it,” was the brainwash rotgut that had kept barbarians in backwoods hells lopping heads for millenia. Heu! If you’re going to claim a thinker, at least bother to read re: the things about which they thought so carefully.
The Esq. article quotes of the emails:
While studying in Washington, Mullins was asked to go to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital to talk to the nation’s most famous political prisoner, Ezra Pound. The outstanding literary figure of the twentieth century, Pound had seen three of his pupils awarded the Nobel Prize, while it was denied to him because of his pronouncements as a native American patriot.