Thursday, July 25, 2019

Frank Lloyd Wright and Ezra Pound

Frank Lloyd Wright Posters © Roy R. Behrens 2017-18
I ran across this recently in Humphrey Carpenter's gargantuan biography, A Serious Character: The Life of Ezra Pound New York: Dell, 1990, p. 832. It has to do with the controversy in the fall of 1957 about what do with American poet Ezra Pound. At the end of World War II, he had been arrested in Italy by the US Army, and charged with making treasonous (and anti-Semitic) wartime radio broadcasts against President Franklin D. Roosevelt and in praise of Mussolini. Brought back to the US, it was decided that he was mentally unfit to stand trial, and was instead committed to St. Elizabeth's psychiatric hospital in Washington DC.  A dozen years later, when his release became a possibility, there was much debate about where he should be permitted to live (he moved back to Italy). Lots of people offered suggestions about what should happen to Pound—even architect Frank Lloyd Wright

[Editor and publisher James Laughlin] reported that Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect, was willing for Ezra to come and live with him at Taliesin West, the house had designed for himself near Phoenix AZ.  This prospect greatly tickled [poet Robert] Frost, especially as he had feared the spectacle of Ezra leaning across his own fence. "I can hardly resist the temptation of putting Ezra and Frank Lloyd Wright in the same gun turret," he wrote, "but we must be serious where so much is at stake for poor Ezra. I should think he might acceapt a house from the great architect for the great poet at a safe distance."

Below A spread from our book on Frank Lloyd Wright and Mason City: Architectural Heart of the Prairie. It is not a book about his marital indiscretions, his arrogance or his leaky roofs. Nonetheless, it has often ranked among the top selling books about Wright on Amazon since its publication in 2017.

Frank Lloyd Wright and Mason City