Arrested in Italy in 1945 by the liberating U.S. troops, the famous expatriate poet, Ezra Pound, was imprisoned in a cage and treated like an animal—which many people considered him to be. At issue were some eighty-four wartime radio broadcasts that Pound had made on Italian radio, broadcasts which, while purporting to discuss economic theory, were in fact rabid anti-Semitic diatribes. Scornful of his captors, Pound takes delight in taunting them with his immense erudition and intelligence, winning small victories not only over the uneducated young black M.P. who is detailed to guard him but also confounding the lawyer and psychiatrist who are sent to interview him. Unrepentant and even indignant at his incarceration, Pound seems to unbend only when speaking with a fellow prisoner, a black G.I. awaiting execution, and he is furious when he is informed that a group of fellow writers, including Ernest Hemingway, are encouraging a plea of insanity to account for his actions. Seemingly unassailable in his isolated brilliance and paranoia, Pound does appear momentarily shaken when confronted with evidence of the Nazi death camps—but, as history confirms, it was, in the end, hatred rather than compassion that sealed the destiny of this gifted but tragically misguided man.
Intense and unsettling, this lacerating play focuses on the famous but controversial American poet, Ezra Pound, during the time, at the end of World War II, when he was imprisoned in Italy awaiting trial for treason. Brilliant, erratic, and mercurial in temperament, Pound was by turns fascinating and repelling, but a man whose contributions as an artist will always be overshadowed by his fanatical, destructive bigotry. "…it has an urgency and a seriousness of purpose in dealing with an exceedingly controversial subject." —NY Times. "The poet he brings to life is, like the poetry, a fascinating challenge to common understanding." —Philadelphia Inquirer. "…intense and often intensely unsettling drama…" —Washington Post.