Books: Knee-High to Ezra Pound

DISCRETIONS by Mary de Rachewiltz. 312 pages. Atlantic-Little, Brown. $8.95.

The hand of Ezra Pound, more strongly than any other, shaped the dominant style of 20th century poetry in English. Born in 1885 in an Idaho mining town, he flourished from 1907 in London and Paris as the friend of Joyce and D.H. Lawrence, the discoverer of Frost, the teacher of Eliot (who dedicated The Waste Land to him) and even of Yeats. But sometime in the 1930s something went tragically askew. The man Eliot called "the greatest poet alive" lapsed into an aging crank, teasing out nutty monetary theories, making Fascist...

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