Article Index






To Carlo Linati,  6 June 1926

Pound E. 1980, Lettere 1907-1958. Ed. A. Tagliaferri. Feltrinelli, Milan. 96.


Come nel XVI Canto, di Pound, forse il primo libro americano dove l’autore, l’ornatore e lo stampatore hanno collaborato per fare un’unità. Non potendo fare un altro battistero di Parma, non avendo denaro per una unità delle arti in una struttura architetturale, hanno voluto reintegrare tre arti in una cosa piccola, disegni, capitali come nei manoscritti del Medioevo [...]. 

[...] perhaps the first American book in which author, designer and printer have collaborated to create a unity. Since they could not erect another Parma Baptistery, and didn’t have the money for a unity of the arts in a single architectural structure, they have chosen to integrate three arts in a small thing: drawings, capitals, as in the manuscripts of the Middle Ages. (Tr. Massimo Bacigalupo, 2015. 133).  


From Henry Strater, 15 November 1926 - 1 Lexington Avenue, New York

YCAL Mss 43 Box 50/2241

Dear Ezra,

            Re Yriarte, howthell could the book be preserved, without rebinding? If I had known that you valued the cover more than the contents, I would have kept the latter. But I admit it was a loss to the world. The cover was in a class with the Opera.


I ast you once already, where are those cantos XVII et sec. published?

We are glad to see Ford.

If Bill is in jail, perhaps that’s why I never got my original drawing for the cantos. I wrote him a year ago. Haven’t one. If he doesn’t value them, I do.





 From John Rodker, 29 May 1928

YCAL Mss 43 Box 45/Folder 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 Box 45/Folder 1924

My dear Ezra,

                       Here is the end of the CANTOS [17-27] 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).


From John Rodker, 23 June 1928

YCAL Mss 43 Box 45/Folder 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 William Bird, 26 Nov 1928

YCAL Mss. 43 Box 6/ Folder 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 Box 6/ Folder 276

Rodker showed me the new volume of Cantos, [17-27] 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. 

Cantos in periodicals

Three Cantos (Ur-Cantos)

A Draft of XXX Cantos

A Draft of the Cantos 17-27


Eleven New Cantos

rsz guido cavalcanti

The Fifth Decad

rsz toscana siena3 tango7174

Cantos LII - LXXI

confucius adams 2