Article Index







rsz borso detail



Note on colours: violet for active links to the companion page of a canto.









Correspondence by Ezra Pound: (c) Mary de Rachewiltz and the Estate of Omar S. Pound. Reproduced by permission.



EPP Moody, David A. Ezra Pound: Poet. A Portrait of the Man & His Work. Volume II. The Epic Years. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014
L The Letters of Ezra Pound 1907-1941. Ed. D.D. Paige. London: Faber, 1951.
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/TSE Eliot, T.S. The Letters of T. S. Eliot. Eds. Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden. Volume 4: 1928-1929. London: Faber, 2013.
L/TW Pound,   Thayer, Watson and the Dial. Ed. Walter   Sutton. Gainesville: UP of Florida, 1994.
SL The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound 1907-1941. Ed. D.D. Paige. New York: New Directions, 1971.
YCAL Beinecke Library. YCAL numbers indicate author, box and folder.



To Homer Pound, 16 May 1924, Assisi

L/HP 530

Dear Dad:


Have read vast work on Ferrara - & blocked out course of a few more cantos.

Some of Henry's designs are good - I dont care for the one Bill is using as an ad. [the Fourth Canto] but I am pleased quite definitely with some of the others.

Shd have been in Paris to make final selection etc - but still. - it will be a fairly good looking book. - you are NOT expected to subscribe - an exemplaire will reach you in due course.


Am beginning to want typewriter again = sign of awakening energy.


To Agnes Bedford, August 1924, Paris [Lilly Library]

EPP 61

[I have] ‘another large wad of mss. for cantos to go on with after Bill has got through printing the 16’.


To Homer Pound, 23 October 1924, Rapallo

L/HP 544

Dear Dad:

Have shaped up some more cantos; and sent you carbons of two that are more or less finished.


To Homer Pound, 25 October 1924, Rapallo

L/HP 545

Dear Dad:


Must start on another LONG hunk of Canti, like the Sigismundo having used up the chop-chop in the five now drafted. (2 of which I have sent you.)

As you say U.S. presidents do not present ALL the features required for the full mind. Am using a bit of Jefferson in the XX or thereabouts.


To Isabel Weston Pound, 1 November 1924, Rapallo

L/HP 547

Dear Mother


Have sent Dad two cantos; and done more, not yet in shape to send. Am, as I possibly wrote him, ready for another long chunk; and trying to find some bhloomin historic character who can be used as illustration of intelligent constructivity. Private life being another requisite. S.M. amply possessed of both; but other figures being often fatally difficient. 


Note: The two cantos Pound sent to his father are 18 and 19 (L/HP 545).


To Isabel Weston Pound, 3 December 1924, Rapallo

L/HP 549

Dear Mother


Sample pages of the Cantos, binding, etc. are being exhibited in the rue de l Odeon. I think I sent dad a notice. Am continuing labour on further chunks of the opus.



To Homer Pound, 25 March 1925, Rapallo

L/HP 561

Dear Dad:


Wot ells. Have typed out most of seven cantos, taking it up to XXIII.


To Homer Pound, 29 April 1925, Rapallo

L/HP 564

Dear Dad:

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. [...]

Hope I have at last found a bookseller in Genova who will send on the stuff I want for work.

Mr Strater is in N.Y., I suppose painting WORSE, but he seems happy


To Homer Pound, May 1925, Rapallo

L/HP 565

Yeas, mong vieux;


Am not writing for the mentally infirm. Nor have I any interest in keeping up the consecrated humbugs of the ang-sax woild.

Canto XVII deals with a sort of paradiso terrestre. XVIII and XIX, I think you have. Geryon, fraude. You can look it up in yr. Dante . the minor hell of rascality.

XX lotophagoi; further sort of paradiso . or something in that direction.

then some narrative. Medici and Este.


To Dorothy Pound, 15 October 1925, Ferrara

Lilly Library, Pound Mss., III Box 1, postcard

Image on the postcard: Tura Trionfo di Venere a segno del Toro; with Borso image.

Varia = of some interest = not esp. use.

going to try Este but not much hope of its being useful.


To Isabel Weston Pound, 24 October 1925, Rapallo

L/HP 579

Dear Mother:

Have got new raccogliatore for notes, as canti XXII to XXIII are about finished and need holder to themselves. Am going on to XXIV etc.

Proofs of the T. Quarter recd.



To Homer Pound, 4 March 1926

L/HP 590

Satire, my dear Homer; SATIRE!!! Wotcher mean by satire?!?

Those are just the simple facts (cantos 18, 19) wot have taken me a number of years to collect.

And all of ‘em by word of mouth or from original actors. Carranza, Massarich, Griffiths, the edtr/ of the Times, the owner of Vicars.

Just simple facts, [.........] and [.............] or his pug dog Mr Louse do NOT tell the trusting public.

Baymont is Lamont of Mongans. Benkensdorf, Griffeths Mensdorf, & unknowns, but perfectly real people; the ones that happened to be THERE.

Dont talk to me about satire. this is how it is. What you read in the papers is what you are supposed to believe. Only trouble is that the FACTS are so damn hard to get at.

You understand the NAMES dont matter; what I am trying to give is the STATE of rascality and wangle. <not the “news”>


Note “Cantos 17, 18 and 19 had appeared in This Quarter, and Homer had commented, ‘I readily see that the 18th is a satire on our times’. The names which ‘don’t matter’ relate to canto 19: Venustiano Carranza (1859-1920) was a leader of the 1913-1915 Mexican revolution; Massarich is Tómaš Masaryk (1850-1937), philosopher statesman and first president of the Czech-Slovak republic- referred to as the old kindly professor in the canto; Arthur Griffith – referred to as ‘the stubby little man’- was a Sinn Fein leader; the editor of The times at the time in question was Henry Wickham Steed; the owner of Vickers the armaments manufacturers was Sir Basil Zaharoff (1849?-1933), referred to in canto 18 as ‘Zenos Metevsky’; Thomas Lamont (1870-1948) was a junior partner in J.P/. Morgan & Co; Count Albert on Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein (1861-1945), referred to in canto 19 as ‘Wurmsdorf’ had been Austro-Hungarian ambassador in London, 1904-14. ‘Mac’ is Robert McAlmon” (Moody 592).


To Olga Rudge, April 1926

EPP 68

“In April he wrote that he had nine cantos more or less finished–they would have been 17-to 25–‘but they don’t make a vollum’. He went on, ‘She suggest a nice simple and continuous subjeck of UNIVERSAL INTEREST, to run from 26 to 33’ which would imply he had it in mind to match the first major division of Dante’s one hundred cantos.”


From John Rodker, 9 November 1926

YCAL Mss 43,  45/1922

Dear Ezra,

Forgive the delay in replying to your letter. I have only just got into a new office and have hardly settled down yet. As for the Cantos, I think it will be an excellent idea for me to do an edition of the new ones, same format as the Contact edition, and of course it would materially help if they would hand over a list of subscribers to the old edition.


From John Rodker, 16 November 1926

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1922

My dear Ezra,


As to the Canti, I could take them in November and propose half profits or a royalty if you think that is safer. Also I can send you a contract in case of my or your sudden demise and the question of heirs, executors, etc., etc. By all means let us have Leger. He is good and there is no point in economizing on so expensive a book, which I want to make as nearly as possible uniform with the first sixteen. And there is no point in my buying Bird’s type as I am not printing myself. I shall certainly let you know if you can help me with any publishing scheme.


From John Rodker, 22 November 1926

YCAL Mss 43,  45/1922

My dear Ezra.


Cantos.                       I want that to be out by about October, and would need two months to get it going. As soon as I get the list of subscribers and decide the number, we can order the paper. I have used Wadsworth’s Horses for a watermark and it looks very well, and Fabriano would be an excellent paper for the edition. Let it be half profits then. You can rely on costs being kept pretty low. Eventually, less than five years, we ought to get a complete edition out. As to Leger, how much do you think? A thousand francs or two thousand francs or more? The edition ought to be able to bear it.



From John Rodker, 16 January 1927

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1922

Dear Ezra,

Re Cantos.     I think it will be best to get out Volume 2 and I think if the edition is small enough it ought to go very well, and then subscribers will find they must have Volume I. In any case I think it best to wait till Volume 2 is ready.


From William Bird, 18 Jan 1927, Paris

YCAL Mss 43, 4/192

“Re Cantos – AGREE with you the MORE the MERRIER. Sales NIL since gawd nose when, but that’s 75% my fault as have done no promoting.

K. Friend operating printer, but disinclined to do any heavy work might, MIGHT be persuaded bite off Vol.2, but probably wouldn’t masticate it.


“You realize Vol. I was UNCOPYRIGHTABLE account obscenities, HENCE can be swiped. […] [I]believe desirable encourage Horace to publish publishable cantos. To preserve numerical sequence would you propose a NOTE under the Numeral XVI mentioning it was withheld out of respect for the Watch and Ward society, or what?


From John Rodker, 8 February 1927

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1923

My dear Ezra,


I like the Poem and the rest of the magazine and feel we ought to sell a great many. I shall certainly do my best.


Note: A reference to the first number of Exile (spring 1927) which contained canto XX and a good part of Rodker’s own novel Adolphe. (See Andrew Gaşiorek. “Exiles” in The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines Volume 2. Eds. Peter Brooker and A. Thacker. Oxford UP, 2015. 698-727.)


From John Rodker, 24 March 1927

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1923

My dear Ezra,

I saw Gladys yesterday and she has taken away your Cantos and my copy of the first volume of 16 and the Dream of Polyphilus and is very pleased and excited by the prospect of making initials, and even suggested illuminating the most expensive ones with burnished gold, etc. We will try and give you a good book.


Contract with John Rodker, 30 March 1927

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1922


AN AGREEMENT made this 30 day of March 1927

between JOHN RODKER Publisher I Farrington Avenue, E.C. 4, London of the one part and EZRA POUND Esq., Via Marsala 12 Int. 5, Rapallo, Italy of the other part. Whereby it is mutually agreed between the parties hereto for themselves and their respective executors administrators and assigns (or successors, as the case may be) as follows: -

  1. JOHN RODKER shall at his own risk and expense produce and publish in a limited edition the work entitled CANTOS by EZRA POUND being Cantos 17 to 26.

  2. JOHN RODKER shall divide exactly with EZRA POUND any profit resulting from the sale of the said work, cost of the said work being taken at the actual figures of the invoices.

  3. An account shall be rendered three months after date of publication and sums due paid not later than two months thereafter. Further accounts shall be rendered at six monthly intervals if necessary.


From John Rodker, 28 March 1927

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1923

Dear Ezra,

As both copies of the Agreement accidentally got into your envelope, I cant check what I did say, but I think the Agreement applied only to this particular edition of the CANTOS and didn’t give me copyright or anything except in the said edition. I had meant only to print 90 copies plus 5 for the Press, and of course unless anything is said to the contrary, copyright remains the property of the bloody author. After reasonable time, say one year after publication or when only a few copies remain, say twenty if that is earlier, the author can do what he likes as to new editions.

This letter can be taken as supplemental to the Agreement, so it need not be touched.


To Homer Pound, 3 April, 1927

L/HP 623

Dear Dad:


Rodker is preparing to print Canti XVII-XXVI; and has the mss. for nine of them in hand. I suppose I get another one done by August, or sometime. [17-25]


To Homer Pound, 10 April, 1927

L/HP 623, 624

Dear Dad


Suppose if I got started on another canto, or hadn’t forgotten all the moozik I learned last summer I might feel better. At present I’m feeling inactive.


As you don’t know what’s in cantos XVII-XXV; I suppose you have no strong ideas re/ what ought to go into the next ten.


From Basil Bunting, 10 April 1927

YCAL Mss. 43, 6/276

Why do you allow your works to be published at prohibitive prices, thus insuring that they shall be bought by bibliophiles only, who do not read them and don’t allow other people to? Sixpence is the proper price for a book of poetry, and it could be made profitable if the book was short enough and unbound. That, of course, would not include initials by Strater or Hynes, charmingly pretty, like the children who offer you flowers for soldi, and as useless: appealing specially to the perverted sexuality of the areestocrats (of commerce included) whom I take to be Rodker’s chief customers. Sixpence a canto is what a writing man can pay, and he will go and see the decorations at the Leicester Galleries or the Tate.

Excuse the above impertinence. It is irritating not to get a chance of reading the more respectable output of the age.


To Homer Pound 11 April, 1927, Rapallo

L/HP 625-26; L 284-85; SL 210-211

Dear Dad:


Afraid the whole damn poem is rather obscure, especially in fragments. Have I ever given you outline of main scheme ::: or whatever it is?

1. Rather like, or unlike subject and response and counter subject in fugue.

A. A. Live man goes down into world of Dead

C. B. The ‘repeat in history’

B. C. The ‘magic moment’ or moment of metamorphosis, bust thru from quotidien into ‘divine or permanent world’. Gods, etc.

In Canto XX, fragment in Exile. Nicolo d’Este in sort of delirium after execution of Parisina and Ugo. (For facts vide, I spose, the Encyclopedia Britan.)

“And the Marchese

was nearly off his head after it all ”

Various things keep cropping up in the poem.

The original world of gods; the Trojan War,

Helen on the wall of Troy with the old men fed up with the whole show and suggesting she be sent back to Greece.

Rome founded by survivors of  Troy. Here ref. to legendary founding of Este (condit (founded) Atesten, Este).

Then in the delirium, Nicolo remembers or thinks he is watching death of Roland. Elvira on wall or Toro (subject-rhyme with Helen on wall) (epi purgos, on wall); peur de la hasle (afraid of sunburn);

Neestho (translated in text: let her go back); (H)o bios :: (life);

cosi Elena vi[d]i (thus I saw Helen,

(misquote of Dante).

The whole reminiscence jumbled or ‘candied’ in Nicolo's delirium. Take that as a sort of bounding surface from which one gives the main subject of the Canto, the lotophagoi: lotus eaters, or respectable dope smokers; and general paradiso. :::: You have had a hell in Canti XIV, XV; purgatorio in XVI etc.

The ‘nel fuoco’ is from St. Francis’ ‘cantico’: 

‘My new spouse placeth me in the flame of love.’

Then the remarks of the opium smoker about the men who sailed under Ulysses.

Voce profondo : with deep voice.

and then resumé of Odyssey, or rather of the main parts of Ulysses’ voyage up to death of all his crew.

for Elpenor, vide Canto I.

Ear wax, ears plugged so they couldn’t hear the sirens.

Neson amumona, literally the narrow island: bull-field where Apollo’s cattle are kept.

Ligur aoide: keen or sharp singing (sirens),

song with an edge on it.

that gets most of the foreign quotations.

Tan mare fustes: is Roland’s remark to moor who comes up to finish him off, as nearly as I can remember his sword is broken, but he smashes the moor over the head with his horn ( olifans :: elephant : olifant tusk and then dies grumbling because he has damaged the ornaments on the horn and broken it.

Tan mare fustes, colloquial: you came at a bad moment. Current cabaret song now: J'en ai marre: I’m fed up.

Any more ke-weschuns???


To Homer Pound, 11 May 1927

L/HP 630

Dear Dad


Rodker reports two capitals designed for next vol. cantos. How he is to sell it, I don’t know as most of the subscribers to Vol. one, are either broke, or enraged with EITHER me or J.R.


To Homer Pound, 1 June 1927 Venice

L/HP 630

& extremely busy. will resume correspondence with outer world about July 4th.

Rodker waiting for Cantos.


To Dorothy Pound, 4 June 1927, Venice

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III Box 1



Am making 1st draft of canto XXVI.

Re the damn caps

Make John take Gladys to Brit Museum (unless O.S. has the Eden Book on the garden.


To Dorothy Pound, 8 June 1927, Venice

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III Box 1



He has done one canto & got idea for another. Bunch of Grigioni documents re medicos in Quattrocento to go with one I have had a long time & that don’t fit anything else.


From Dorothy Pound, 8 June 1927, London

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III Box 1

Mao :


Olivia has Eden book – so I’ll arrange with John and Gladys Haynes to see it… will write John immediately.


Good luck on new Canto.


To Dorothy Pound, 12 June 1927, Venice

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III Box 1


Enclose portrait of young lady with duck, also quite young.

Lot of stuff in Querini - a trecento latin play that Dazzi has translated from latin wd probl excite W.B. unduly – lot of background for Browning Sordello etc.


To IWP, 15 June 1927, Venice

L/HP 631

Dear Mother.

Great deal to do here. 3 libraries. Am supposed to have finished Canto XXVI – so Rodker will have it in time for the new vol.


From Dorothy Pound, 24 June 1927, London

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III Box 1



Saw Gladys Haynes yesterday here. I like her very much. She saw Eden book. & I gave her the p. card with ark. She is I believe quite a serious painter! Is also cutting wood (not wood-cuts)

She had roused up Bunting, & he had written her lots of information on “Geryon” -


To Homer Pound, 29 July 1927, Rapallo

L/HP 633

Dear Dad:

Havent done much but clear up desk, etc, since return.

Rodker is said to be getting on with edtn. of Cantos; D having seen six designs for the caps. etc.


To Homer Pound, 7 September 1927

L/HP 636

Dear Dad


Canto 27 has gone toward the printer, who says the paper for book is sposed to be on way from Italy to London.

Am blocking in Cantos 28-30 but they won’t affect the present volume.


From John Rodker, 13 September 1927

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1923

My dear Ezra,

This is to acknowledge receipt of the last CANTO which will go in to the body of the book.


From Sibley Watson, 19 October 1927, New York

L/TW 323

Wish offer you Dial award stop. Rule requires contribution from recipient during year stop. If offer acceptable could you send immediately suitable prose or verse please cable collect.


To James Sibley Watson, 20 October 1927, Rapallo

L/288-89; SL 213; L/TW 323-34

Dear Watson:

It is impossible for me to accept an award except on Cantos or on my verse as a whole.

It wd. also be foolish, I think, to send in a prose squib, or a criticism of some Whifflepink like friend Morand.

There has been no definite request for Cantos, but there is no other verse available, and will be none.

The available detachable sections are (canto) 22 and the part of 27.

XXII is probably too frivolous for your purpose.

I suggest that you use the XXVII by itself; it will take less room, and probably cause less friction.

It is also possible to take the Gibraltar fragment [from canto XXII], by itself, from point beginning

“And a voice behind me in the street” on page 17 (or red 3).

As the immediate appearance in the Dial is largely a formality perhaps the XXVII will serve.


From Sibley Watson, 11 November 1927, New York

L/TW 324

Dear Pound,

We are very grateful to you for accepting the offer and for the Cantos. Miss Moore is & I am delighted to have the part of No. XXVII for the Jan. number, (which will satisfy our “requirement”). Before deciding on the award I went to see Thayer in his sanatarium and he urged me to try you though we both doubted whether you would have anything to do with the Dial. He talks as rationally as ever on most subjects and his memory is as always better than mine, but he is said to have delusions.

I am not returning Canto XXII which is a masterpiece and which I hope we can use in February–if not in Feb. then in March. We hope to get some interesting “essays” about your poetry.


Note: The Dial for January 1928 carried Pound’s part of canto XXVII together with T. S. Eliot’s ambivalent essay on Pound titled “Isolated Superiority,” asking “What does Mr. Pound believe?” The February 1928 number included canto XXII.


To Homer Pound, 1 December 1927, Rapallo

L/HP 643

Dear Dad:


Have recd. copies of Cap. designs for XVII:XXVII; and like them very much.

Rodker has run wild and threatens to print three or four copies on veritable bullshide or sheeps hide or whatever at $250 each.


CANTOS, vol. 2 :: that at any rate is in process of being printed.


From Gladys Hynes, 4 December 1927, London

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III, Box 2

Dear Ezra,

I am so glad you liked the capitals – I was rather afraid you might not, – you asking for simplicity and they getting more and more complicated as they grew. But you are an American and so, I suppose, in a very complicated state at the present moment, and I of the same nation as the Scribe of the Book of Kells – simplicity is not in us!

I loved your cantos, they put the spell on me, but I am blessed if I knew what they were all about often, - it did not matter.

A lot of those letters I drew in a cabin in Glencoe[?], it was queer feeling the hot life of Italy throbbing in your poems, and then to look out of the window and see the mountains through the rain – the Glens folk liked the poems they said they had a fine sound to them.

I wish you did not have to depute (can’t spell) John too. Why don’t you ever come to London?

It is Hell at the present moment, and usually, but perhaps it is worse to get acclimatized? They are trying to shoot Desmond Fitzgerald, he always has to go around with six guards.

Please greet your Spouse for me, and thank her for her card, I am so glad she likes the Caps:

Some day I shall come to Rapallo and you must find me a place to live in where I can sit in the sun and come to life.


To Homer Pound, 16 December 1927, Rapallo

L/HP 644

Dear Dad:


Sent you announcements of new Cantos yesterday.


To Homer Pound, 27 December 1927, Rapallo

L/HP 645

Dear Dad:


Have had 3 canti to correct in proofs.

Note: the 3 canti in proofs would have been ‘Part of Canto XXVII’ and ‘Canto XXII’ for The Dial and ‘Part of Canto XXIII for Exile no.3 (Moody 646).



From John Rodker, 9 January 1928

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1924

My dear Ezra,


Bard [Bird] makes the tenth 5 guinea subscription, so it looks as if the edition may go out of print.


To Homer Pound, 13 January 1928, Rapallo

L/HP 643

Respected Progenitor:


Rodker reports several sales of Cantos. [...]

Anything in particular you wd. like to have reported in Vol. III of the Cantos?

Perhaps mother wd. like me to devote a little space to the life of Cyrus K. Curtis and his LLLove ov the Human Race?

Jining in the euneevursal cho-russ of praise.


From John Rodker, 13 February 1928

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1924

My dear Ezra,

The orders to date are as follows:-

Loomis 20     guineas
Nancy Cunard 10          “
Stevens & Brown do. Also/Folder Three Mountains edn.  10 + 10 “
Mrs. Shakespeare [sic] 5            “
McKeague Also /Folder Three Mountains  5 + 5     “
Neumayer  5            “
Crosby   5            “
Dunster House 5 + 5     “
Bard  5           “
Natalie Barney 5           “
Walden Bookshops  5           “
Joyce 5           “
Dr. Williams W. C.  5           “

Have arranged with Bird to exchange if needed so you will see there is still room for more sales. I am possibly putting and advertisement in the DIAL as I see the have given you the prize. I was very glad to hear it and you too must have been pleased at this rather belated tribute.

I was pleased to meet your friend Bard and shall probably see more of him, though he is too like oneself not to be a little disquieting.


From Dorothy Pound, 2 May 1928, London

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III Box 2

Mao […]

Rodker to dinner yesterday: Cantos slow because there’s so little of the large type – only enough for a few pages at a time.


From Dorothy Pound, 10 May 1928, London

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III Box 2



Rodker is sending you more proofs: if you like, return to me? & I will at once go through & give to John. I dine next week with him.


From John Rodker, 29 May 1928

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1924

My dear Ezra,

Your country right or wrong, has just confiscated one of the 10 guinea copies of your first 16 CANTOS, sent me by Bird and dispatched by an agent here who supplies American booksellers. It seems it may even prosecute the bookseller to whom it was addressed.

Fortunately I have been paid for the copy and the loss falls on the exporting agent here.

However, it is bad for all our reputations, even though there is no loss to us. You will know best whether anything can be done about it.


From John Rodker, 12 June 1928

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1924

My dear Ezra,

Here is the end of the CANTOS and if you will let me have them back as soon as possible, the book can then be finished.

The copy of the first 16 CANTOS was addressed by Messrs. Stevens & Brown Ltd., 4 Trafalgar Square, London, to The H. and H. Book Company, Topeka, Kansas, U S A. They say they have returned to their correspondents the letters which they received from the Collector of customs in St. Louis, but they “would be grateful for any action that Mr. Pound may be able to take with a view to having the volume released, and trust such action may be in time to prevent the volume being destroyed” (which seems to me unlikely).


I propose to print your name in the vellum copy you want. I should like one myself at cost if you do not object.


To Dorothy Pound, 17 June 1928, Venice

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III Box 2



Corrected and returned last of Cantos to J.R.  


From John Rodker, 23 June 1928

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1924

Dear Ezra,

Thanks for yours from Venice.

Latest from the front is as follows;

“We have to report from our correspondents that they have received the cover of the book from the Customs Department so that we presume the book itself has been destroyed. We trust however that Mr. Pound’s intervention may be in time to prevent that, although we are afraid it may be too late.”

They go on to say that they still want a copy of the book and I am now writing to Bird.

I dont [sic] suppose anything can really be done but raise a stink.


From John Rodker, 9 August, 1928

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1924

My dear Ezra,

I have sent you today the sheets needing signing of the CANTOS, and would be glad if you would let me have them back as soon as possible.

There is one copy on Whatman paper for Mr. Ben Martin, who has been very useful to me in a number of ways, which I said you would deign to sign for him, though he is not strictly entitled to it.

Gladys is staying at: Miss Marshall, casa Sant’Agnese, Bordighera, and if you will write to her, she will come over and sign the vellum copies.

I would be glad of Loomis’s address, as the last one, Fontainebleau, seemed rather vague. […]

Nancy has sent me specimens of her printing and I think she probably will make something of her Press. Like you, I have no poems for her.


To Homer Pound, 19 August 1928

L/HP 666

Dear Dad:


Have signed title pages for XVII-XXVII, suppose they will get bound sometime. etc. [...]

Nancy Cunard has taken over Bill B’s printing press, also wants to continue printing. Expecting our illustratess or capitalistress in a week or so. [Gladys Hines].


From John Rodker, 8 September, 1928

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1924

My dear Ezra,

Of the CANTOS there are 9 unnumbered copies.

1 is to go to the  British Museum
1  Times Lit
1  Criterion
1  Venice
1  Homer Pound
1  Agnes Bedford
1  Olga

That leaves, I think, 1 copy for yourself in sheets and I am binding for you. I will see if an imperfect copy can be made up also.

I have had the Vellum copies bound in Vellum as being more satisfactory, it seems to me, than Niger, and your copy is ready if you would like it, but I am holding it back for GLADYS her signature.

As far as I can make out, there is a £50 deficit on the job, but I have not yet all the accounts in. On the other hand, the volume is, I think, extremely handsome, particularly the 10 guinea copy, and Mr. Inman of New York seems to be considering taking the balance of the edition, in which case we shall each make something.

Fabriano made by Pietro Miliani at F.


From John Rodker, 12 September 1928

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1924

My dear Ezra,

I note what you say about the Times Lit and review copies and will do the best I can.


Let me hear from you about the Vellum copy waiting to go to you.


From John Rodker, 14 September 1928

YCAL Mss 43, 45/1924

My dear Ezra,

There are plenty of copies of the CANTOS over and if we sell them all we shall each make near £100 BUT at the moment the value of the copies sold is, I calculate, some £50 less than what it cost.

I have written to Inman to say if he wants the rest of the edition he could have it at 20% discount, i.e., the 5 guinea copy for 4 guineas. He may possible agree as they seem highly delighted with it in the States, and I must say the green copies look remarkably handsome (I am sending you one of the unnumbered copies so bound for yourself).

I was proposing to send you 1 copy bound green parchment and 1 in sheets without charge. If you want 5 copies of the 5 guinea edition reserved, please say so and I will send them to you and deduct the cost at the price I get for the remainder from the amount eventually due to you. As soon as I have all the figures in I will certainly let you have them. As for Gladys, I have already had No.1 of the 5 guinea edition printed with her name and it is waiting for her.

The total cost of the edition will be somewhere round £250, i.e., nearly £3 a copy. I do not know what the Three Mountains edition cost. I certainly do not see where I could have saved on this edition except perhaps in the printing, where I might have saved £20 or £30 by going to an inferior printer, but I think the difference in cost was well worth the very excellent printing we eventually got. Paper, vellum, binding, designs and blocks for same could not possibly have been cheaper, and anyhow if we both make round about £100 each, rather less than more, that should be fairly satisfactory. 


From T. S. Eliot to John Rodker, 19 November 1928

L/TSE 4: 326

Dear Rodker,

I am glad to have a copy of Ezra Pound’s new cantos for review (which are indeed beautifully done) especially as I am having reviewed his selected poems in the March number, and should like to have these reviewed with them. I should be glad if you could let me have particulars of price, number of copies available etc., or whether all sold out, for this purpose. 


From T. S. Eliot to John Gould Fletcher, 23 November 1928 

L/TSE 4: 335

Dear Fletcher,

I have had an advance copy of Pound’s poems sent to you, and I think I also wrote to ask whether, if you took this on, you would also consider dealing with the new lot of cantos which John Rodker has published, and which I would send you. I should be glad if you would let me know. 


To Homer Pound, 23 November 1928, Rapallo

L/HP 672

Dear Dad:

Since the gorillas in the St. Louis Post Office destroyed copy of vol. 1 of Cantos, Rodker is holding your copy of Cantos 17-27 till he can get it carried to you by hand.


17-27 looks very handsome.


From William Bird, 26 Nov 1928

YCAL Mss. 43, 6/193

“Suppose you have seen the ambitious programme of Mlle. Cunard.

Report has it that Rodker is SOLD OUT on cantos No.2. If true it would be useful to have his list of subscribers. Pipple who got No.2 should ought to got No.1 also, nit? We can still take care of a few applications.


If the reports of tremendous commercial success of Cantos 2 are correct please let me know & I will write the eminent publisher for his list. I presoom he wont mind, as I gave him mine.”


From Basil Bunting, “Last of 1928”.

YCAL Mss 43, 6/276

Rodker showed me the new volume of Cantos, but didn’t let me take it away and read it. It is handsome. If he had got as good paper as the Paris lot it would have been the better volume.


From T. S. Eliot to John Gould Fletcher, 23 November 1928 

L/TSE 4: 335

Dear Fletcher,

Many thanks for your review of Pound. I have only read it through once, but I see no reason whatever why we should not publish it, and I shall send it to press directly. Very many thanks. 

Note: John Gould Fletcher reviewed  A Draft of XVI Cantos (Paris: Three Mountains Press, 1925), and A Draft of the Cantos 17-27 (John Rodker, 1928) in the Criterion 8 (April 1929): 513-24.



From Henry Strater, 16 February [1929]

YCAL Mss 43,  50/2242

Deah Marsezry,


The new cantos are very good, very good. As good as yo’ best. Ize proud to get yo’ stationery, Idaho boy.



From John Rodker, 16 January 1931

YCAL 54, 10/247

My dear Ezra:

The cheque for £12.3.3 I am sending you with this is the final balance due on the Cantos. All things considered it has not been an unsatisfactory transaction & I hope you are pleased with it. I sold off part of the stock that was dead anyway & so am in funds again, for a little anyhow but trade is bad so it’s not much good selling the rest. Hence I expect to be stuck here for some time to come, trying to liquidate the stock decently, though I expect I may be able to get abroad for brief flight.



To the Editor of Chicago Tribune, 31 January 1932

YCAL Mss 43, 8/388

Ed/ Tr/

For editions de luxe, because wood-pulp paper etc. crumbles in a century or so and priceless etc. wd. Be lost if the GOVERNMENT do buy rag paper to preserve the priceless words, etc…. At a time when we already have two hundred fool schemes for the govt. to make underwear, plant grape vines, etc.


Every author with any intention of producing anything of more or less durable value takes the trouble to have it printed on good paper. Most so-called authors have no wish to write for posterity and no care for anything save immediate profits, and consider anyone who had such ambition a nut or an imbecile.

A great many books are printed on good paper, especially classics and books that are supposed to have permanent interest.

A few years ago the de luxe edtn. was one of the few means of publishing anything not likely to have large commercial success. This means of attaining free speech has been largely blocked by the formation of a de luxe book trust in New York, which has reduced at least 80% of the de luxe book production to commercial level, but has not been able to eliminate free individual production altogether.



rsz vasari lorenzo









Series IV. Manuscripts. Cantos XVII-XXX: autograph ms. (102 pages) – YCAL 43 Box 72/ Folder 3237 












  1. Bornstein, George. “The Book as Artefact: Historicizing Ezra Pound’s First Thirty Cantos.” The Book as Artefact: Text and Border. Eds. Anne Mette Hansen, et al. Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi, 2005. 151-164. Also in Variants: The Journal of the European Society for Textual Scholarship 4 (2005): 151-164. 
  2. Ozturk, Anthony. “Quattrocento Vortex: The Schifanoja Frescoes and Ezra Pound’s Cantos.” Affirming the Gold Thread: Aldington, Hemingway, Pound & Imagism in Torcello and Venice. Proceedings of the IV International Imagism / VIII International Richard Aldington Conference. Eds. Matthew Nickel and H.R. Stoneback. Bradenton, FL: Florida English, 2014.  107-122. 
  3. Ricciardi, Caterina. “Archives.” Ezra Pound in Context. Ed. Ira Nadel. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010. 148-58.



  1. Albright, Daniel. “Early Cantos I-XLI.” The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999. 79-84.
  2. Alexander, Michael. “Cantos 18-71.” The Poetic Achievement of Ezra Pound. London: Faber, 1979. 162-91. 
  3. Bacigalupo, Massimo. “Annotazioni XVII-XXVII.” Ezra Pound XXX Cantos. Parma: Ugo Guanda, 2012. 345-50. 
  4. Childs, J. S. Modernist Form. Pound’s Style in the Early Cantos. Susquehanna University Press. 1986. 103-5; 120-2.
  5. Cookson, William. A Guide to the Cantos of Ezra Pound. London: Anvil, 2001. 29-43.
  6. Eastman, Barbara. Ezra Pound’s Cantos: The Story of the Text. Orono: National Poetry Foundation, 1979. 64-65.
  7. Flory, Wendy. Ezra Pound and The Cantos: A Record of Struggle. New Haven: Yale UP, 1980. 122-38.
  8. Liebregts, Peter. “Cantos XVII-XXX.” Ezra Pound and Neoplatonism. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2004. 166-199.
  9. Makin, Peter. Pound’s Cantos. London: Allen & Unwin, 1985. 151-72.
  10. Moody, David A. Ezra Pound: Poet. A Portrait of the Man & His Work. Volume II. The Epic Years. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014. 83-90.
  11. Nassar, Eugene Paul. The Cantos of Ezra Pound. The Lyric Mode. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1975. 35-50.
  12. Sherry, Vincent. Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and Radical Modernism. New York: Oxford UP, 1993. 156-165. 
  13. Sicari, Stephen. “XVII-XXX.” Pound’s Epic Ambition. Dante and the Modern World. New York: SUNY Press, 1991. 71-82.
  14. Wilhelm, J. J. “‘The Fortieth Year of My Life …’ (1925).” Ezra Pound in London and Paris. 1908-1925. University Park: The Pennsylvania State UP, 1990. 346-54. Print.
  15. Wilhelm, J. J. “A Paris Diary.” Ezra Pound in London and Paris. 1908-1925. University Park: The Pennsylvania State UP, 1990. 297-345. Print.



  1. Christie’s. “The Quentin Keynes Collection: POUND, Ezra. A Draft of the Cantos 17 to 27. London: The Curwen Press for John Rodker, 1928.” Auction: London, 7-8 April 2004. Go to site.
  2. Cocola, Jim. “Digital Maps: A Gazetteer to The Cantos of Ezra Pound.” Worcester Polytechnic Institute 2018. Cantos 17-30


Cantos in periodicals

Three Cantos (Ur-Cantos)

A Draft of XXX Cantos

A Draft of XVI Cantos


Eleven New Cantos

rsz guido cavalcanti

The Fifth Decad

rsz toscana siena3 tango7174

Cantos LII - LXXI

confucius adams 2