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Wayne Pounds <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 24 Jan 2003 08:43:13 +0900
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Just before the end of the year, I received Massimo Bacigalupo $B!G (Bs
collection _Conti postumi_ [Posthumous Cantos] (Mondadori, 2002), and I
would like to introduce the Pound list to this jewel, believing that
most of you will share my pleasure in having in hand at this very late
stage of the game a collection of  $B!H (Bnew $B!I (B Cantos. $B!! (BIt made my New Year $B!G (B
s holiday new.
 Though the editorial introduction and notes are in Italian, the drafts
are all given in their original language, which is of course English
(with the exception of the drafts for the Italian Cantos of 1944-45).
Thus, for the most part (about 240 of the 260 some pages of poetry), the
volume offers the reader a bilingual text with the English and the
Italian on facing pages.
 The arrangement is as follows:

I. _Three Cantos_, London 1917
II. Paris, 1920-1922
III. Rapallo and Venice, 1928-1937
IV. Voices of War, 1940-1945
V. Italian Drafts, 1944-1945
VI. Pisa, 1945
VII. Prosaic Verses, 1949-1960
VIII. Lines for Olga, 1962-1972

The one rubric above that may require comment is the seventh.  $B!H (BProsaic
Voices $B!I (B is the name Pound gave to his own selection from the drafts for
_Rock-Drill_, published in 1959 by the Italian publishing house Sciascia
and called _Versi prosaici_.

The inclusion of the early _Three Cantos_?may occasion surprise, but
Bacigalupo points out that these Cantos remained forgotten in the back
issues of _Poetry_ (and the volumes _Lustra_, 1917, and _Quia Pauper
Amavi_, 1919) and were reprinted only after Pound $B!G (Bs death.  $B!H (BFor this
reason they can reasonably form part of a volume called _Posthumous
Cantos_. $B!I (B

Bacigalupo offers the following rationale for his collection:  $B!H (BIt is a
curious fact that Pound was a maniacal conservator of his notes, perhaps
thinking that sooner or later the unused passages could prove useful
(certainly he didn $B!G (Bt think that one day university libraries would vie
for them at high prices). The result is that the published text of the
_Cantos_ is only the tip of an iceberg of partially published material:
notebooks, manuscripts, drafts. And though in general he showed good
judgment in choosing what to conserve and what to let perish, at times
he indeed forgot precious passages among his daybooks and scribblings.
  $B!H (BThe present volume thus offers a selection from this very abundant
material, a selection based on criteria of quality, legibility, and
documentary interest. $B!I (B

Some examples among many that immediately attract one $B!G (Bs interest: 1.
The draft of the discussion between Pound and Eliot at Verona in 1922--
alluded to in Canto 78:  $B!H (Bso we sat there by the arena $B!I (B-- gives us an
idea of Pound $B!G (Bs methods, Bacigalupo observes. Whereas Cantos 11, 12,
29, and 78 merely allude to the episode, the rejected draft is
informative and diary-like, even commenting on the quality of the wine
on the table. 2. For readers attracted to the paradisiacal  $B!H (Bdimension
of stillness $B!I (B in _The Cantos_, the highlight of this gathering may be
the three passages which at various stages were part of the famous
Chinese Canto of the Seven Lakes (Canto 49). 3. In the same paradisiacal
vein, the collection ends with the verses for Olga. Thus, in effect, as
Bacigalupo says, Venus, announced in Canto 1, reappears at the end, a
smiling and be-jeweled queller of monsters,  $B!H (Bbearing the golden bough
of Argicida. $B!I (B

For readers who may be unsure how to order this volume, I might mention
that for some years now I have found IBS a dependable source for Italian
books: http://www.internetbookshop.it
The search page is http://www.internetbookshop.it/ser/serpge.asp
The publisher may be visited at  http://www.mondadori.com/libri

Wayne Pounds