As shown by the Calendar, Canto XXVII as written between 8 June and 11 September 1927.



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




Pound, Ezra. The Letters of Ezra Pound, 1907-1941. Ed. D.D. Paige. London: Faber, 1951.


Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound to His Parents. Letters 1895-1929. Eds. Mary de Rachewiltz, A David Moody and Joanna Moody. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2010.


Pound, Ezra. Pound, Thayer, Watson, and The Dial. A Story in Letters. Ed. W. Sutton. UP of Florida, 1994.


Pound, Ezra. The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound 1907-1941. Ed. D. D. Paige. New York: New Directions, 1971.


Beinecke Library, New Haven. Ezra Pound Papers YCAL Mss. 43 Box no/ Folder no.



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. [26 done and idea for 27]


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 Hynes to see it… will write John immediately.


Good luck on new Canto.


From Dorothy Pound, 24 June 1927, London

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III, Box 1



Saw Gladys Hynes 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, 7-11 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 wont affect the present volume.


From John Rodker, 13 September 1927

YCAL Mss 43, Box 45/Folder 1923

My dear Ezra,

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


To James Sibley Watson, 20 October 1927, Rapallo

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

Dear Watson:

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

It would 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 XXVIl by itself; it will take less room and probably cause less friction. It is also possible to take the Gibraltar fragment, 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.


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).



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].



To Luigi Berti, 3 October 1942, Rapallo

Ezra Pound. Lettere 1907-1958. A cura di Aldo Tagliaferri. Milano: Feltrinelli 1980. 154

Caro Berti


L’articolo fu pubblicato sul Dial / genn 1928 / preceduto da una parte del mio Canto XXVII / canto della rivoluzione russa / o epitafo sulla rivoluzione / fra i migliori; o almeno per me uno dei più belli. E se volete tradurre ancora qualche cosa guardatelo.

“Tovarish baked and eaten” /                             Cadmo grano

“Nothing we made and we set nothing in order” // tovarish = camerata. Destino dei poveri diavoli che non hanno capito bel niente. Sarebbe ‘timely’ per la caduta di Stalingrado e fu scritto, naturalmente, nel 1927 / o prima. Cominciate pagina 136 / linea 3. 

And tovarish lay in the wind /

La prina metà del Canto non si traduce / insomma / se non facendo una edizione completa dei Cantos / è questo che vi avrebbe umpendito di tentarlo. / La seconda parte sta da sola come unità completa / due pagine. 

[“The article [by T.S. Eliot that Berti had inquired about] was published in the Dial in January 1928 / preceded by a part of my canto XXVII / canto of the Russian revolution / or epitaph of revolution / among the better ones; or at least for me one of the most beautiful. And if you’d like to translate something more, keep it. 

“Tovarish baked and eaten” /                             Cadmus grain

“Nothing we made and we set nothing in order” // tovarish = comrade. Destiny of the poor devils who did not understand anything. It would be timely for the fall of Stalingrad and was written naturally, in 1927, or before. Begin at page 136/ line 3.

And tovarish lay in the wind /

The first half of the Canto is not translated / to conclude / if you don’t make a complete edition of the cantos / this is what may have prevented you from trying it. / The second part can stand alone as a complete unit / two pages.”]

Notes. The date and wording of the letter show that Pound assumed the German army would defeat the Soviet forces in the battle of Stalingrad, which was raging at the time. In October 1942, it certainly looked like the Germans were winning. However, Soviet reinforcements poured in and the German army was forced to retreat defeated in February 1943, after a battle which had lasted more than five months. The “poor devils” and “baked and eaten tovarish” had a force and a resilience that Pound had not expected, either in 1927 or in 1942. The Battle of Stalingrad and the light it throws on the cantos through this letter reveal the limits of Pound’s political opinions and inclinations, his dismissal of Russian culture and his inability to accept the  strength of the Communists to unify a nation. 

See Canto XXVII in The Dial here.

“was written naturally, in 1927, or before” – Pound may have implied the overlapping of canto XXVII with the shortage of grain in 1927 in the Soviet Union and Stalin’s policy of “dekulakisation” i. e. of forceful confiscation of grain reserves from richer farmers and their deportation to the gulag. The collectivization of agriculture began in 1928, together with the first Soviet five-year plan. Wikipedia.



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