Ezra Pound’s 23 don’ts for poets



Extract:Ezra Pound was a key figure in 20th century poetry. Not only did he demonstrate impressive poetic skill in his Cantos; he also proved to be a crucial early supporter of several famous contemporaries, championing the likes of Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, and H.D.. Before deservedly being condemned for his fascist politics and antisemitism, Pound established himself as one of the leading literary critics of his time. David Perkins, in A History of Modern Poetry, wrote, “During a crucial decade in the history of modern literature, approximately 1912-1922, Pound was the most influential and in some ways the best critic of poetry in England or America.”


  1. What the expert is tired of today the public will be tired of tomorrow. Don’t imagine that the art of poetry is any simpler than the art of music, or that you can please the expert before you have spent at least as much effort on the art of verse as an average piano teacher spends on the art of music.
  2. Be influenced by as many great artists as you can, but have the decency either to acknowledge the debt outright, or to try to conceal it. Don’t allow ‘influence’ to mean merely that you mop up the particular decorative vocabulary of some one or two poets whom you happen to admire. A Turkish war correspondent was recently caught red-handed babbling in his dispatches of ‘dove-grey’ hills, or else it was ‘pearl-pale’, I can not remember.
  3. Use either no ornament or good ornament.

Music’s everywhere

I leaned against the radio on my chair
Why put a button on the front,I cry
An opera burst out,giving me a stir

The chair is broad and could become a lair
For wolves or foxes, no need to apply.
I leaned against the radio on my chair

I live in a house, so is it fair
That animals have  got no wings to fly
Loud voices sang out,giving me a stir

For opera, one has to have the flair
Good taste and feeling, these we cannot buy
I leaned against an angel on my chair

Yet if   schools did the arts,chance would be there
There is music in an orphan’s sigh.
Oh  people sang  and bells rang in cold air

In late winter many old folk die
Make sure you tell your love  without a lie
I leaned against the radio on my chair
An opera burst out, music’s everywhere!

This variegated colour


In between the darkness and the bright,

Graded shades of grey and lilac lie.

These variegated colours give delight.

And from my soul, I hear a gentle sigh.

As we live, we dwell in mysteries;

Must take decisions based on various views.

And unknown memories from our history

Emphasis the old,  forget the new.

For true perception, we must humbly be.

Not for moral reasons but for sight.

The emptiness lets flood creative seas.

Allows bright rays of loving, guiding light.

We need to know we do not know at all.

And, trembling, hold the doors of vision wide.

So gentle should be judgements when we fail.

Then errors we’ll appreciate, not hide.

We must deal with life unknown, unclear;

Perception is a better guide than fear.

Oh,wind on green

short-eared durham owl
meditating over the dale’s edge,
shadows the fields and folds
in elegant diurnal flight.
on wind-side,careful sight
may swoop to prey
and away.
your yellow broad-eyed look,
at once both sharp and distant,
holds me.
oh,wind on green,
immense your held vision,
sphere without center,
pied geometer of flight,
oh, what descent and ascent.
trees bunched by dry stone wall
call heart home