Ezra Pound’s Stay at a Psych Ward

Pound was first captured by American forces in Italy in 1945 for anti-American and pro-fascist speeches over Rome Radio. He was held there for six months, before being sent back to the United States to be put on trial. Pound was deemed incompetent to stand trial on the grounds of mental insanity, and he was sent to St. Elizabeths Hospital where he would remain for the next twelve years. Pound’s mental state is the subject of much debate, with many literary historians believing that he was healthy while others believed that his fascist ideology and anti-Semitism was a result of his insanity. One perspective argues that Pound was aided by a sympathetic superintendent who admired him. Alternatively, some argue that Pound truly was mentally incapacitated and needed help. Another viewpoint debates that the government declared Pound insane to stop him from spreading his beliefs. Interestingly, Pound continued to produce work successfully while being held in the hospital before he was allowed to leave with the help of fellow poets. Robert Frost and Ernest Hemingway both supported Pound and advocated for his release from the hospital, which he would attain in 1958. After his release, Pound immediately returned to Italy where he would continue to write until his death in 1972. The cause of Ezra Pound’s institutionalization is still a debated topic with a variety of viewpoints presenting valid arguments.

St.-Elizabeths-1900

St. Elizabeths Hospital

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This entry was posted in American poets, Honors English III, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Ezra Pound’s Stay at a Psych Ward

  1. mshlafstein says:

    I think this is a very interesting aspect of Erza Pound’s life story and something many people might not know about this famous poet. Is there a reason for his support of these ideas and his love for Italy, where he moved after his release? I think that looking at some poems he wrote during his time in the hospital would be interesting to look at.

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