Radio: Retirement

Those best qualified to judge thought him the master versemaker in English of his generation. He lived in a decaying palazzo in Rapallo, on the Mediterranean shore near Genoa. Of his own greatness Ezra Pound had no doubt; he named his son Homer Shakespear Pound, so the story went, "for the crescendo effect." Writers whom he had befriended included a grateful exile, James Joyce, and a sportsman, Ernest Hemingway. His letters, jaggedly typed, jumpy with execrations and wit, walloped out in enormous numbers, were avant-garde currency for 20 years.

Money, of which he had...

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