New York: Farrar & Rinehart, November 1937




To James Laughlin, 2 December 1934

L/JL 36


Re/ the Cantos. I dunno whether farrar is printing the next 10 AT ONCE. or NOT at all. As god damn bastards have wasted a year and half NOT printing ABC////. 10 months NOT printing Jeff/Muss Three years NOT getting an Americ/ edtn/ How to read [...] The XXXI/XLI are shot out to instruct the pore god damn bloody pubk/ in history and economics... only loophole...



From Laurence Pollinger, 21 June 1937

YCAL 43, 41/1737

Dear Ezra,

A.W. [Ann Watkins] is here and I have had a talk with her. She wants to handle the U.S.A. rights of your material and is going to take back with her copy of THE FIFTH DECAD OF CANTOS with a view to showing it to Johnny Farrar and other likely publishers. I am also going to the Whale to let me have an advance set of proofs of GUIDE TO KULTURE and this A. W.  will take up with the Yale people first.

My suggestion is that you should correspond direct with A.W., letting me have carbon or your letters, if that is not going to be too much of a sweat. I will then know exactly what is going on over there.


From Laurence Pollinger, 6 July 1937

YCAL 43, 41/1737

Dear Ezra,

Ann Watkins learns from Farrar & Rinehart that they have an option on FIFTH DECAD OF CANTOS on the same terms as those for the two previous books of Cantos: $150.00 advance against a royalty of 15%. This advance is payable on publication and if the accrued royalties mount to more that $150.00 Farrar will pay that amount. I hope this information checks with your understanding and that it won’t be long before we shall have an agreement signed by Farrar together with duplicate for your completion and return.


To Laurence Pollinger, 8 July 1937

YCAL 43, 41/1737

Dear Pol

I don’t remember about the option, but better I suppose to have all the poem with the same pubr/

Please let the illustrious Ann NOTE for her private but henceforth official use, that Farrar put in an incredible charge for ALTERATIONS/

there is a clause in his contract about author paying for cost of alterations over 10% of printers charge


It can’t have been that amount/ there were about five lines altered/

NOTZ for the Fifth Decad that alterations mean CHANGES made by the author from the Faber text. over and above alteration made by me in corrected copy of that text to be submitted via Ann. Or if not submitted by the time they are ready to print, then in the Faber text as printed.




About the fifth decad/ I think there was an S to be put on a noun and taken off a verb/ but can’t find it at the moment. But IF any alterations need be made in the Faber edtn. I will do it by time the agreements are ready.


From Laurence Pollinger, 12 July 1937

YCAL 43, 41/1737

Dear Ezra,

Thanks for yours of July 8th, in duplicate, and postcard of July 9th. Watkins will, I hope, be letting us have Farrar and Rinehart’s signed contract for THE FIFTH DECAD OF CANTOS, together with duplicate for your signature and return, in the course of the next few mails. I have sent her the duplicate of your letter about the alterations, etc.


To Laurence Pollinger, n.d. [20 July 1937]

YCAL 43, 41/1737

Dear Pol/


as per post card/ yester/ the CORRECTED copy of Fifth Decad, has gone to Ann’s N.Y. office registered.


From Laurence Pollinger, 8 September 1937

YCAL 43, 41/1738

Dear Ezra,


By this morning’s mail is a note from Ann Watkins which reads: –

“We are sending you two copies of the Farrar & Rinehart contract for FIFTH DECAD OF CANTOS. We understand from the publisher that this follows exactly the previous contracts. The drawing of this agreement was held up in the F. & R. office because of vacations. We believe that you and Mr. Pound may want to eliminate the option terms as stated in paragraph 1. One signed copy is to be returned to Farrar & Rinehart. If there are no changes made, we will then send you a confirmed copy for your files.”

The two copies of the agreement are attached.


To James Laughlin, 18 September 1937

L/JL 83


I believe arrangements have bust with Farrar re/ Cantos XL/L

Can N. Dir earn anything on THAT? 

(or cash in delux 51 C



From James Laughlin, 22 September 1937

L/JL 84

[…] Most important item wd. seem to be Cantos XL-L. I await yr. instructions. If you want me to print ’em, I’ll print ’em.


From Laurence Pollinger, 7 October 1937

YCAL 43, 41/1738

Dear Ezra,

I duly received yours of September 25th and the altered and unsigned contract with Farrar & Rinehart for THE FIFTH DECAD, and immediately communicated with Ann Watkins. I hope she will be reporting that Farrar accepts all of your changes, in the course of the next few mails.


To James Laughlin, 21 October 1937

L/JL 84


If ANN Watkins 210 Madison Ave. Thinks you can do 41/51 the FIFTH DECAD better than Farrar. it is O.K. with me.




The Fifth Decad is published by Farrar & Rinehart on 29 November 1937



From James Laughlin

L/JL 89


Your decad is out and looking lousy as to book production. Why don’t you get yourself a decent publisher, like me for instance.


To Carlo Izzo, 28 January 1938

Lettere 1907-1958. Ed. A. Tagliaferri. Milan: Feltrinelli, 1980. 130.

<Beeth, nel complesso penso che la sua prima stesura sia piuttosto buona // Sí, volevo e voglio una recensione della QUINTA DECADE da qualcuno che abbia letto i primi 40, ma che scrivesse come se il lettore SAPESSE già degli altri 40 / o almeno confinasse la recensione alla Quinta Decade / con una dichiarazione di tre BREVISSIME righe nelle quali si dica che questa Decade ha una funzione in un lungo poema>

(“Well, by and large I think that your first draft is mostly good// Yes, I wanted and still do a review of the FIFTH DECAD by someone who has read the first 40 [cantos] but who wrote as if the reader already knows of the first 40 / or at least follow the review to the Fifth Decad / with a declaration of three VERY SHORT lines in which to say that this Decad has a function in a long poem”)


A Draft of XXX Cantos

ship4 for c1