CALENDAR OF COMPOSITION

 

According to the Calendar, Pound was still working on Canto VII by 22 November 1919, but had finished it by 2 December, when he received feedback and a question from T.S. Eliot, included below.

Canto VII was first published in The Dial as “The Seventh Canto” in August 1921 and in Poems 1918-1921. New York: Boni & Liveright, 8 December 1921. (P&P IV: 172-175; Gallup 32). Go to the Seventh Canto

 

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

L/HP  Ezra Pound To His Parents: Letters 1895-1929. Eds. Mary de Rachewiltz, A David Moody and Joanna Moody. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2010.
 L/JQ  The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound to John Quinn: 1915-1924. Ed. Timothy Materer. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1991.
 L/TSE  The Letters of T. S. Eliot. Vol. I: 1898-1922. Ed. Valerie Eliot. London: Faber & Faber, 1988.
 L/TW  Pound, Thayer, Watson, & The Dial. A Story in Letters. Ed. W. Sutton. UP of Florida, 1994.
 SL The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound 1907-1941. Ed. D.D. Paige. New York: New Directions, 1971.

 

1919

 

To Homer Pound, 22 November 1919

L/HP 453

Dear Dad

[...] As Liveright never answers a letter. Please phone that I have three new cantos done. THUS there is enough matter for American edition of poems, as follows. 

Homage to Propertius

Langue d'Oc

Moeurs Contemporaines

Cantos IV, V, and VI (possibly VI and VII, by the time matter is settled. Same size vol as English Q.P.A.

Liveright's agent wrote asking if they could import Q.P.A., you understand that the first three cantos are in Knopf's Lustra, therefore the English sheets of Q.P.A. can not be sold in America. 

Note: Q.P.A. - Quia Pauper Amavi [I was poor when I loved] - volume of poems published by the Egoist Press in 1919. 

 

from T. S. Eliot, 2 December 1919

L/TSE I: 350; A 18

Ελεναυς!

I am absorbing this matter slowly. I regret missing you yesterday. […]

                                                            T.

Who is Tyro?

 

To Homer Pound, 13 December 1919

L/HP 455

Dear Dad,

[...] Have done cantos 5, 6, and 7, each more incomprehensible than the one preceding it; dont know what's to be done about it. Liveright says he is ready to bring out vol. of poems. Shall put Propertius first and follow by 'Langue d'oc and Cantos IV to VII, book about the same size as Q.P.A.

Note: The volume produced by Liveright is Poems 1918-21 and was published in 1921.

 

1920

 

To Scofield Thayer, 24 March, 1920

L/TW 18; BT 301

Queery, would you have printed Fenollosa's essay on The Chinese Written Character? Do you want serious contributions to thought... or merely second hand jaw? Mr. Quinn implies you want my verse rather than my prose. I [am] send[ing] [sep. cover] four cantos. Canto IV is o.k. by itself, Cantos V.VI.VII shd. appear together as the Lorenzacchio [sic] Medici begins in V. and ends the VII.

I shouldn't insist on their being printed all together, but it wd. be better. It wd. also affirm my connection with the magazine, as I shd. not print this long poem in any paper which I was not backing. There are not likely to be more than two cantos each year, the rest of my stuff wd. be shorter poems (or prose if wanted).

 

From Scofield Thayer, 30 March 1920

Beinecke, YCAL 43 Box 13/581

Dear Pound:

[...]

Thank you for the verses. Canto IV is now in the press and will appear in our June issue. Cantos V, VI, and VII we are returning to you.

 

To Homer Pound, 24 April, 1920

L/HP 463

Dear Dad

Am sending you 'Mauberley', my new poems, advance sheets. I dont want you to show it to people YET.

Because 1

I want the Dial to print cantos IV-VII, they probably want something of mine, and wd. certainly prefer short poems to the cantos. Therefore I want them to remain in ingornace [sic] of the fact that there are any short poems, until the cantos have had a full chance.

If they saw the short poems first, they wd. probably want to print them instead of cantos. It wd. get my name into the Magazine, for less money, and in more convenient way. Therefore please lie low about 'Mauberly' until you hear from me.

 

To IWP, 30 Sept 1920

L/HP 472

Dear Mother:

[…] Sent mss. of new vol. poems to Liveright two days ago. Also mss. of Cantos  V-VII to dad.

 

To John Quinn, 9 October 1920

L/JQ 195-96

C. re Liveright. I have sent the rest of copy for

            “Three Portraits”

It contains the Imperium Romanum (Propertius)

            The Middle Ages (Provence)

            Mauberley (today)

                        And cantos IV-VII,

It is all I have done since 1916, and my most important book, I at any rate think Canto VII the best thing I have done;

If America won’t have it, then Tant Pisssss as the French say. I have my answer, and it means twenty more years of Europe, perhaps permanent stay here.

[…] At any rate the three portraits, falling into a Trois Contes scheme, plus the Cantos, which come out of the middle of me and are not a mask, are what I have to say, and the first formed book of poem[s] I have made. Lustra being, I admit, simpler and more understandable. 

 

 

1921

 

To Homer Pound, 30 July 1921

L/HP 487

Dear Dad:

[…] By the time you get this Cantos shd. have appeared in Dial. (cantos V-VII)

 

1922

 

To Felix E. Schelling, 8 July 1922

SL 180, L 247

[…] Perhaps as the poem goes on I shall be able to make various things clearer. Having the crust to attempt a poem in 100 or 120 cantos long after all mankind has been commanded never again to attempt a poem of any length, I have to stagger as I can.

The first 11 cantos are preparation of the palette. I have to get down all the colours or elements I want for the poem. Some perhaps too engmatically and abbreviatedly. I hope, heaven help me, to bring them into some sort of design and architecture later.