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This article is taken from PN Review 229, Volume 42 Number 5, May - June 2016.

‘Only to the Dog’
Meeting Ezra Pound in the 1960s
Michael Alexander
I saw Ezra Pound several times in that decade: first in Rapallo in 1962; then after T.S. Eliot’s memorial service, in London; then in the later 1960s, in Venice. I also visited Brunnenburg in 1964 and ’65. I have reported one or two of Pound’s remarks to me in what I have written about his work.1 Yet a fuller account of what Pound said on these occasions may be worth making public. What follows is taken from diaries and notes made at the time. It adds detail to what is already known rather than altering the general picture, but some of these details may have their own interest.

The purpose of my first visit to Pound, in 1962, was to ask the translator of ‘The Seafarer’ if he would accept the dedication of a book I had begun, to be called The Earliest English Poems. This had been commissioned by an English teacher of mine, Peter Whigham, who had introduced me, among his other pupils at Worth Priory, a prep school in Sussex, to some of Pound’s ‘Epitaphs’:

        Fu I 

Fu I loved the high cloud and the hill,
Alas, he died of alcohol.

         Li Po

Li Po also died drunk.
He tried to embrace a moon
In the Yellow River.

Peter Whigham was the subject of a commemorative piece I contributed to PNR 106. I had met my prep-school teacher again after leaving secondary school. Knowing that I admired Pound's ‘Seafarer’, and seeing that I was to study Old English in ...


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