POUND, Ezra (1885-1972)
Plaque erected in 2004 by English Heritage at 10 Kensington Church Walk, Holland Park, London W8 4NB, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Journalism and Publishing, Literature
EZRA POUND 1885-1972 Poet lived here 1909-1914
Set in a quiet cul-de-sac behind Kensington High Street is a blue plaque to the poet Ezra Pound. He lived at 10 Kensington Church Walk from 1909 until 1914.
IDAHO TO LONDON
Born in Idaho, USA, Pound arrived in 1908 in London, where he was to spend the formative – and most significant – years of his career. In the period up to his departure for Paris in 1921, Pound was productive as a writer: his collections of verse included Personae (1909), Exultations (1909), Canzoni (1911) and Ripostes (1912), and he also worked to promote other, then unknown, writers such as James Joyce and TS Eliot, whose blue plaques can also be found in Kensington.
In 1912 Pound invented the label ‘imagism’: imagist poetry stressed clarity, precision and economy of language, and was to have a profound influence on 20th century literature. Two years later he named and was a founder of the Vorticist group of artists and writers, which came to be led by Wyndham Lewis.
Pound lived in a top-floor bed-sitting room at 10 Kensington Church Walk from 1909 until 1914, when his marriage necessitated larger quarters. The house was owned by a Mr and Mrs Langley, who were described by Pound as ‘positively the best England can produce at ANY level’. Here, Pound received visitors including Ford Madox Ford (who lived nearby), DH Lawrence and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.
ITALY AND CONTROVERSY
The later, controversial period of Pound’s career was spent in Italy. His support for fascism led to his being indicted for treason in America, but he was instead certified insane and confined. It was partly for these unsavoury later associations that he died a semi-recluse in Italy. Pound was rejected for commemoration in 1988, but his literary importance and connection with London was finally deemed strong enough to merit a blue plaque. The plaque was unveiled in 2004 in the presence of his daughter, Mary de Rachewiltz.