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26 January 1995
Ezra Pound and James LaughlinSelected Letters 
edited by David Gordon.
Norton, 313 pp., £23, June 1994, 0 393 03540 9
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‘Agenda’: An Anthology. The First Four Decades 
edited by William Cookson.
Carcanet, 418 pp., £25, May 1994, 1 85754 069 7
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... In a letter dated 22 January 1934 to his protégé JamesLaughlin, Pound makes passing reference to R.P. Blackmur, who had written a long unflattering essay, ‘Masks of Ezra Pound’, in an issue of the periodical Hound and Horn (which Pound renamed Bitch – ...

Little Philadelphias

Ange Mlinko: Imagism

25 March 2010
The Verse Revolutionaries: Ezra Pound, H.D. and the Imagists 
by Helen Carr.
Cape, 982 pp., £30, May 2009, 978 0 224 04030 3
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... Pound would have a hand in the editorship of countless magazines, including Poetry, the New Freewoman (later known as the Egoist), the Little Review and the Dial. His protégés, T.S. Eliot and JamesLaughlin, would bear the impress of his tastes when they edited the Criterion and the New Directions publishing house, respectively. But first Pound had to make a splash, along the lines of Roger Fry ...

He was the man

Robert Crawford: Ezra Pound

29 June 2016
Ezra Pound: Poet: A Portrait of the Man and his Work: Vol. III: The Tragic Years, 1939-72 
by A. David Moody.
Oxford, 654 pp., £30, September 2015, 978 0 19 870436 2
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... sixty times as long. As a result, very few people read The Cantos right through; even those paid to do so tend to skip. Like those other impressive modernist monsters, Finnegans Wake and In Memoriam James Joyce, The Cantos are best encountered in judicious extracts. In The Pisan Cantos and elsewhere, Pound constellates a vast collection of allusive snippets around the sometimes scarcely perceptible ...

I want to boom

Mark Ford: Pound Writes Home

24 May 2012
Ezra Pound to His Parents: Letters 1895-1929 
edited by Mary de Rachewiltz, David Moody and Joanna Moody.
Oxford, 737 pp., £39, January 2011, 978 0 19 958439 0
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... A small batch of his letters to Louis Untermeyer was published a few years after Pound’s release from St Elizabeths in 1958, and then, in 1967, his extensive and fascinating correspondence with James Joyce. But it wasn’t until the 1980s and 1990s that the archive floodgates really opened. These decades saw the appearance of volumes individually devoted to Pound’s letters not only to fellow ...
31 March 1988
The ego is always at the wheel 
by Delmore Schwartz.
Carcanet, 146 pp., £6.95, May 1987, 0 85635 702 2
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A Nest of Ninnies 
by John Ashbery and James​ Schuyler.
Carcanet, 191 pp., £10.95, June 1987, 0 85635 699 9
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... are Lowell’s elegies and Berryman’s Dreamsongs, and even an awkward commemoration on his The Blue Mask album (1982) from Lou Reed, a student of Schwartz’s at Syracuse in the early Sixties. And James Atlas’s sensitive biography, published in 1977, provides an exhilarating mass of circumstantial evidence about Schwartz’s day-to-day existence. But the best introduction to his achievement ...

Mostly Middle

Michael Hofmann: Elizabeth Bishop

8 September 2011
by Elizabeth Bishop.
Chatto, 352 pp., £14.99, February 2011, 978 0 7011 8628 9
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... not really, but where else have the culture vultures not been, with their guides and follow-me signs?Marianne Moore and her mother finished her in Brooklyn (decorum studies?) after she left Vassar. JamesLaughlin, founder of New Directions, publisher and friend of Ezra Pound, was so desperate to publish her that even after he accepted he wasn’t going to be allowed to, he still hoped at least to be ...


Mark Ford: Love and Theft

2 December 2004
... had turned up in his surgery in Rutherford in the spring of 1942 with a sick son and a sheaf of poems. Williams liked these a great deal, and wrote to say so. He also tried to persuade his publisher, JamesLaughlin at New Directions, to take her on, though to no avail. In reply he received from Nardi a long series of bitter missives that castigate him for smugness and selfishness, and reveal her own ...

Tickle and Flutter

Terry Castle: Maude Hutchins’s Revenge

3 July 2008
... maid-like embarrassment she aroused in her critics. Not one of them could get through an essay about her, it seems, without a biddyish dilation on the carnality of her themes. ‘Maude Hutchins,’ James Kelly wrote in 1955, does ‘as she pleases’ as a novelist and ‘to date what has pleased her most is s-e-x as observed and enjoyed from the feminine vantage point.’ Hutchins, Maxwell Geismar ...

Take out all the adjectives

Jeremy Harding: The poetry of George Oppen

6 May 2004
New Collected Poems 
by George Oppen, edited by Michael Davidson.
Carcanet, 433 pp., £14.95, July 2003, 1 85754 631 8
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... through the syntax, and sends the reader back several times over the poem, scouring for primary sense. There is also the extra ‘e’ on Maud, the remarriageable reader of French novels in Henry James’s ‘The Story of It’: a quirk Oppen chose not to change in later editions. Yet the drift is clear and exhilarating, and there is a cold precision, no less exhilarating, in the way the poem gets ...

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