From Henry Strater, 13 January 1924  - 1 Lexington Avenue, New York
YCAL Mss 43 Box 50/Folder 2241
Please give Mizzz’ Pound my many thanks for her advice, assistance, & material help in producin’ them capitals.
How were they received? By how many wus the details appreciated?
How many more years before Col. Bird aims to bring all this here travail to a close?
You axes me if the climate is yet rife for the sister aht. Ah says, yesm, if his health is very strong, he may survive the first wave… .
To William Bird, 25 January 1925
L 267-68; SL 195
Dear Bill: Bozze recd. COMPLIMENTI. Much finer than I had expected. Also various things of Henry's look O.K. in double page [drawing] that I had disliked in single [drawing].
He has the larffff on us for p. 16 [drawing] because it wd. have goed better the way he meant, only we fergotttt abaht the “C” on the next page.
Vurry noble work. And up to date no misprint of any importance-only an i for an oat the end of Piccinini, where it don't matter a cuss. Mos' remarkable. Even the subject matter don't seem so objectionable.
Have you a spare page 31 (Canto IX)? Preferably with red. It don't matter about the type. I shd. like to send that sheet to the ole archivista at Ravenna who made me the sketch of the ox-carts. Don't think he reads English. Want enough of page to show him it is part of a book, not a detached picture. Can be sent folded once from top to bottom, but not up the perpendicular middle of page. Not matter oflife and death. But if there is a spare slip of that page, on the top arf, can you send it?
Are there any spare sheets left that cd. be used as ads. or for presentation. NO more free copies = i.e. whole copies. Hell to be revealed only for 25 bones. But let me know about spare sheets = re/ which we can consult and which I will use only with yr. august approval. Think we shd. keep a list of what partial copies or spare leaves exist.
Am much more pleased than I Xpected to be. And satisfied with Strater where I had before been worried abaht his effex .
Engkore mes compleemengs.
Also size of bok. is pleasant = can be held on lap - not too heavy = & type read at that distance = a bhloody ghood job = after awl yr. night sweats.=
To Homer Pound, 28 January 1925
I have typed to end on Canto XX & recd. copy of Bill’s edtn. I-XVI – special proofs. Too late to correct any thing – only one error that matters / head should be heads on p. 58 line 10.
heads rose. = snake heads not the single head of Medusa herself.
you will probably find 2 of them there cantos a bit strong. (pungent)
but I think they are only what is needed. I wd. have gone further if I had seen any way of doing it.
Eliot writes that he wants to print some more cantos in his mausoleum. Don’t know that he will when he sees ‘em.
Hope you will be getting your Cantos . about now.
That will give you something to go on with. & ask questions about.
Straters work & Bills printing come up better than I had expected.
From Henry Strater, 21 February  - 1 Lexington Avenue, New York
YCAL Mss 43 Box 50/2241
Not that I give a damn for the critics, but I’d be interested to know what they have to say (if anything) about the designs. I know a good deal about the average intelligence on the subject of painting. But I have a strong feeling that the general level is lower, in regard to design. So I’d appreciate clippings, if you or Oiseau have any.
Tell Bill that ahm getting’ mighty lonely ova hya without mah deezigns, eff he caint sen’ me np proofs, when can ah have mah deezigns? Ah doan ax to have ‘em boun’, all ah axes is to have ‘em sent in a small bu’ safe manneh.
Ah diden’ leave Parus because ah wusen intrusted in de buk, ah lef because ah wanted to keep mah estate in th’ same state uv salubrity, exten’, en general pro-ductiveness as is wus fahve years ago. […]
As for ys’ potry, it be the onliest huntemporary potry wat interests me at all. An’ moreover, ah thinks that the bestes’ faht of uor potry has nothin’ wasseveh to do with subject matteh. Ah mean dat ah lakks yor pulsations en’ yo’ rythmms. En if pulsations en’ rythmms ain’ got the essentials of poetry, then ah doan know no moah about potry than you fren’ Misteh Fohd does ‘bout paintin’. Ah showed a reprodukshun of a Holbein, an’ real mean lake, ah sed ah deiden’ know who it was by. En he sed he wused suah, but he thot it wus probably Tishun (that Venice paintuh). So ah hopes he write ‘nother book, about Tizians. (But doan’ tell Misteh Fohd ‘bout that Holbien, ‘cause its one of the neoo’ faums of key wuks.)
I am specially interested to know what Mizz Poun’ thinks of the Hell canto designs, also the I with the lake and the swans (#3?) also the tailpiece, also the last, more designed ones best, or the first, more worked over ones? Some of the first ones were the 16th canto, the P, the two T’s and the G.
Now about Liveright, for my own protection in conversation. What is his position on the cantos? I haven’t heard from him since I called. […]
Give my love to Miz’ Poun’, also the same to you from Maggie.
As for more designs; I am painting now six days a week average, & from nine to six thirty daily. Moreover, it is good stuff. Carried much further. A couple of big figure designs, that I’ve worked on now at various times since last June. Just design; then drawing; then colour; then form; then character. But av you say, there is plenty of time.
Bill is a swell fellow and a real artist in his printing. It is big. But he’s wrong about wood-blocks. That’s archaicism. Just like asking you to write in hieroglyphics. Of course, hieroglyphics nare nicer to look at than printing.
Pen + ink drawings are more plastic so watercolours + true freezes are nicer than oils, but they are less plastic.
From Ernest Hemingway, 16 March, 1925
[...] Got my copy of the Cantos. Aint paid for it yet. Will, however. Gawd it's a fine book.
To Homer Pound, 2 April 1925, Rapallo
HAVE YOU recd. Cantos YET, and ef not, why not??
To Homer Pound, April 1925
I dont know WHY the HELL you haven't got your copy of Cantos, unless Bill is taking it to America himself to save risk of loss in post.
Will write to Three mts. AT once.
I haven't yet got my second copy, supposed to be still at Binders. French books are issued unbound, everybody then binds his own, i.e. has it bound to suit his own taste, IF he wants it enough to bind it.
Thus there are no wholesale binders, as in Eng. and U.S., or rather very few, and the chaps that can do these de looks jobs are slow as coal tar, and used to finishing one copy at a time.
To Homer Pound, 29 April 1925, Rapallo
The seccertary-an-typist of the 3 Mts. reports copy of CANTOS shipped to you. If you haven't recd. by the time you get this, respond and will start tracer.
If you get 2 copies put the second into cold storage until instructions arrive concerning its destiny. [...]
Mr Strater is in N.Y., I suppose painting WORSE, but he seems happy.
To William Bird, 24 August 1925
Lilly Library W. Bird mss. Partly printed in L 273; SL 200
Deer Bull: If you will go thru the archives of the late Mme Rosen, o.b.e., I think you will find a Xtrak from the fascist organ of Rimini stating that the opus is a CAPOLAVORO magnifico.
It was carried thru the village, not on a triumphal ox-cart draped with scarlet, but at any rate with due order by il Commandante. (I declined to see the sindaco, but expressed no unwillingness that he shd. gaze on the edition.)
Marchetti stated that he had shown my poem "anche a Domini Deo".
The copy was placed in the Malatestiana at Cesena by my own honourable hands with fitting inscription, and various of the studiosi were later assembled (in my absence) and those who cdn't stumble thru English 'ad it hexplained. Dazzi very much surprised when I said Hell cantos wd. not travel thru American post. (That shows what a proper Dantescan education will do for a man. He said no modem Eyetalian wd. have the guts to do' em. That they were of a vigore propriamente americano.)
They really need the GERYON to elucidate 'em. I read Dazzi the Sidg., the Hell and the new typescript (Geryon) XVIII and XIX (which you may sho'tly see).
The copy was NOT sent from yr. office to Cesena; that is prob. why you have no official record. Copy sent here, and I toted it over.
Thanks for the Malatesta Roma and Japan sheets recd. Am sending the Roma to il Commandante; and ascertaining whether the museum is ready to frame and hang the velum. If it ain't, they will do very nicely here. Am glad to see the vellum, with space enough to see the proportion, couldn't get full effek in print shop. I see some reason for the vellum edtn. I also see that the Whatman takes a better imprint than the Roma, BUT the stink!!!!!!! AND the transparency of the paper seem to me to make it MOST ondesirable sort of paper to print anything but obstetric woiks on.
Just the sort of shitty smell a COLLECTOR would leave unnoticed. Books for the shelf and not the 'and or the nose.
The vellum initials, if you put the X to left and IX to right, make a very good display.
Do you know of any chemical treatment for Whatman, any profume that wont stain the paper??
To William Bird, 3 October 1925
Lilly Library, William Bird Papers
Hav you ANY bloomin idee wot it cost to print the Cantos. Exclusive of buyin the plant?? Salary of ten printers for two years, etc..
Not countin the pleasurh.
Itz a beeeyeuteeful book. Several people have said so. And wot is more surprisin three or four have gone so far as to take note of the contents …… vuury curious, onect again. Of course the majority of the references are to the print an bindin…..
The japan veeal um is sure swell stuff. Am slowly getting the stink out of the Whatman, with yarbs, perfumes disinfectants, etc.