“UNLESS THE DIVINE FIRE DESCENDS WITH UNUSUAL VIGOR…THERE WON’T BE ENOUGH NEW POEMS TO MAKE A VOLUME OUT OF THEM [THOUGH]…THERE ARE A FEW NEW POEMS THAT COULD BE PRINTED WITH IT. NOTABLY THE CANZONI ‘OF VENICE’ (APRIL ENG[LISH] REV[IEW]) & ‘OF ANGELS’. (FORTNIGHTLY—GOD KNOWS WHEN—I CORRECTED THE PROOF BEFORE I LEFT LONDON), AND A BALLATA. I SUPPOSE THERE’LL BE TWO OR THREE MORE BEFORE THE AFFAIR IS SETTLED. THE NATURE OF THE BOOK DOESN’T SUIT THE FORMAT WHICH HAS BEEN SO SATISFACTORY FOR
‘PER[SONAE]’ & ‘EX[ULTATIONS]’…”
POUND, EZRA. (1885-1972). American poet and critic. Wonderful, and extremely uncommon, early Autograph Letter Signed, “Ezra Pound”, on imprinted and illustrated Hotel Eden stationery. Four full pages, large octavo. “Lago di Garda [Italy]”, circa 1910. To “My Dear Mr. [Elkin] Mathews”, the publisher. Pound writes:
“Unless the divine fire descends with unusual vigor & persistency during the next six weeks, there won’t be enough new poems to make a volume out of them. Bert has said about eight times that he is going to publish ‘The Dawn’ but hasn’t started the printing & I have not signed our agreement. Of course I’d rather have it issued from Vigo St. and if you care to use it I’ll stiffen up my terms with J.B. & Sons. I expect to send in some sort of [material] within a fortnight, and I can, I think, discourage them. If you want me back!…There are a few new poems that could be printed with it. Notably the canzoni ‘Of Venice’ (April Eng[lish] Rev[iew]) & ‘Of Angels’. (Fortnightly—god knows when—I corrected the proof before I left London), and a ballata. I suppose there’ll be two or three more before the affair is settled. The nature of the book doesn’t suit the format which has been so satisfactory for ‘Per[sonae]’ & ‘Ex[ultations]’, it would want something vaguely suggestive of parchment & black letter. That white Kathleen in Hoolihan is of the order. A duplicate of the agreement which served for Exultations would suit me. The matter is of course, strictly between E. Mathews and E. Pound. The American selected edition seems a certainty. I enclose news from Sidney Bulletin. I believe the Melbourne Booklover is also to blaze in the near future. Sincerely yours, Ezra Pound”.
One of the finest letters from Pound’s pen that we have had the privilege of offering. A cornerstone item for any collection of literature.