Books: Poetry and Poison

EZRA POUND: THE LAST ROWER

by C. DAVID HEYMANN

372 pages. Viking. $10.

Ezra Pound was a contradictory civilization of one. He was the most original American poet since Walt Whitman, a magically imaginative translator, and a literary promoter nonpareil. He also produced more verbal trash than any other great writer of modern times, wasted decades advancing crackpot schemes for monetary reform, railed disgracefully at "kikes, sheenies and the oily people," called Hitler "a saint" and democracy a "swindle," betrayed his country during World War II, and in old age spiraled down through hells...

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