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Timothy Redman <[log in to unmask]>
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- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 11 Nov 2013 15:44:59 -0600
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Dear Roxana,

A most useful summary! Thank you!


Tim Redman

----- Original Message -----
From: "Roxana Preda" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, November 10, 2013 4:26:06 PM
Subject: EPS Information bulletin no.3/November 10, 2013

Dear Poundians,

I have written the text below as a short historical report on our  
society ? it is not meant to be exhaustive and final, but to settle  
some important points for us and better define our society. Please  
write to me if you find errors or would like to add info I may have  

Many people have helped me with information: warmest thanks are due to  
Gail Sapiel, who gave me scans of documents from the Paideuma  
archives; Prof. Barry Ahearn who generously sent me a copy of his own  
historical report of 2001; Rick Catrone for adding a scan that I  
circulated to friends to ask for advice, and finally Demetres  
Tryphonopoulos who pointed out a very informative article by Burt  
Hatlen ? you?ll find my sources at the bottom of the report.

This short history of the society is the first part of a larger  
posting about the society in the context of the other initiatives in  
which Poundians are involved. But that other colourful info is  
reserved for later. My first story now concerns the EPS.

The Ezra Pound Society - The Story So Far

Our tale begins in 1978, when Carroll F. Terrell had the initiative of  
adding a ?book club? to the National Poetry Foundation. He had created  
the NPF seven years previously, to enable the launching of Paideuma.  
Since 1972, the journal had gathered around it the best scholarship on  
Ezra Pound and implicitly created a community of scholars who would  
have needed to buy books that were of great interest to them, but too  
specialized for a general market. At some point, Terrell wanted to  
rename the NPF ? he made the attempt of calling it the Ezra Pound  
Society. However, this did not work out. This is what he wrote:

"Stuffed into the pages of this issue you will find ? a membership  
blank which is an invitation to join the Ezra Pound Society as an  
adjunct activity of the National Poetry Foundation, Inc. I had once  
planned to convert the Foundation to the new name, but the red tape  
and legal fees make that idea [with apologies] 'inoperative.' Since we  
can accomplish the same thing by this ploy, the trouble is also  
My idea is to form a sort of Mini-Readers Subscription Club made up of  
people who will be the most interested in special studies on the work  
of Pound. I expect to publish 2 to 4 books a year but will  
deliberately choose those which commercial publishers or university  
presses cannot print because they can be expected to have too small a  
market. [?] Members of the Ezra Pound Society will receive a 50%  
discount on each book." (Paideuma Bulletin Board, 8 1 Spring 1979)

In the same number, Terrell announced the formation of two "chapters"  
of the EPS: one at the University of Maine and one in Kyoto,  
expressing the hope that similar organisations of minimum ten members  
would be created to form a network of chapter locations in the United  
States, Canada and Europe. This did not come to pass. The two initial  
chapters are the only ones that have been created to date. Membership  
to the society in the Western hemisphere was established by the  
subscription to Paideuma, which continued to be the axis of all  
Terrell?s initiatives. He wrote the initial charter of the society,  
which established the minimum number of members, the dues ($25), and  
the privileges (free issue of Paideuma and 50% discount on books).  
This initial charter was rather unspecific as to the kind of officers  
it might have needed, since Terrell assumed the type of officer would  
be determined locally. Since this was to be a network, the document  
also mentioned ?delegates? to ?national meetings.? The mission of the  
society was to ?promote and develop the study of Pound?s work as a  
poet and man of letters.? (charter document, 1978)
The year the EPS was founded (1979, if we take it to overlap with the  
announcement in Paideuma) was very critical. Terrell was finishing the  
first volume of the Companion (published in 1980) and was also  
retiring from full time academic duties (1981) to concentrate on the  
second volume (1985). Additionally, the NPF was enlarging its sphere  
of scholarly interest to the Objectivists and other poets in the Pound  
tradition: Terrell founded Sagetrieb in 1982 and after the first issue  
asked Burt Hatlen to take over editorship (Hatlen 59). In 1989,  
Terrell gave up full-time responsibility for the NPF, though  
continuing to act as consultant for Paideuma (Hatlen 48). Membership  
in the EPS was in all respects included within the NPF and its  
activities at Orono: the publication of the journals, the conferences  
at the University of Maine (1975, 1980, 1985, 1990), and the books  
that were published under the aegis of the NPF.

It was Burt Hatlen who gave our society a degree of autonomy when he  
became Director of the NPF and Secretary of the EPS in 1990. In 1992  
he revised the initial charter of the EPS and established a set of  
amended by-laws that are still governing the society today. Hatlen  
proposed that since membership to the society is the subscription to  
the journal, a dollar from the Paideuma subscription should go into  
financing the EPS. The revision of the by-laws had become necessary  
because Terrell?s initial idea of the EPS as network of local chapters  
had not materialized. Additionally, the society was applying for MLA  
affiliate status and had to comply with the MLA conditions: a society  
had to be at least four years old, have a charter, dues paying  
membership, and an elected slate of officers. Additionally, the MLA  
stipulated that members should have the opportunity ?to participate in  
the full range of the operations of the organisation? (Hatlen, letter  
to members, July 20, 1992).

 From the bulletin board of the Paideuma (spring-fall 1992), we can  
see that Hatlen?s procedures fully complied with MLA directives and  
were radically democratic: he sent out cards with requests for votes  
and scholars responded:

"So far over 100 of you have returned the form which designates $1.00  
of your Paideuma subscription as dues to the Society. This group seems  
large enough to allow us to move on to the next step, which is to  
update the bylaws. So if you sent in your form, you will receive, some  
time in May, a copy of the old by-laws along with a set of proposed  
revisions and a ballot which you should return to Burton Hatlen, the  
secretary of the association. In June or July we will apply to the MLA  
for affiliate status. If the application is approved, we will have one  
or two sessions at the 1993 MLA convention." (Paideuma bulletin board  
21 1/2).
At the same time, Hatlen ensured that the society had two slots at the  
annual conference of the American Literature Association ? the first  
panel organised by the EPS was at the ALA conference of 1993. Hatlen  
announced: ?Anyone interested in participating in the 1993 convention  
can write to me. You need not be a EPS member to give a paper?  
(Paideuma bulletin board winter 21 3 1992).
Participation in the MLA conventions was delayed until 1995 (Ahearn  
and Witemeyer 456). According to the amended by-laws, the society then  
got its first president: Hugh Witemeyer (1992-1997). He was followed  
by Barry Ahearn (1997-2001), Alec Marsh (2001-2013) and Roxana Preda  
(2013-). Burton Hatlen served as Secretary until 2008 when Demetres  
Tryphonopoulos took over. Alec and Demetres have run the society since  
Hatlen?s passing away that year ? they have had the help of Tim Redman  
and Ira Nadel. All four have consented to become members of a society  
Advisory Board ? they discuss and validate all new initiatives  
concerning the EPS.
Regular panels at the MLA and ALA conferences have structured the  
society activity ever since 1993 and have constituted the main service  
that the EPS has brought to Pound scholars. Over the years, alliances  
with other societies, mainly those devoted to William Carlos Williams,  
James Joyce, and H.D., have enriched and diversified the palette of  
sessions. Here are some recent examples: Ezra Pound and the San  
Francisco Renaissance (ALA, 2006), Teaching Ezra Pound?s Poetry and  
Prose (ALA, 2009); Ezra Pound in H.D.?s Work (ALA 2012) Prosody in the  
Poetry of Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams (MLA 2011); Ezra  
Pound and James Joyce: Connections and Disconnections (MLA 2012).
In 1999, at Hugh Witemeyer?s suggestion, the society initiated its  
annual award for the best book of Ezra Pound scholarship. Along the  
years, the society thus honoured Alec Marsh, Margaret Fisher, Walter  
Baumann and Leon Surette, among others. The award is not financed out  
of the society dues (which are minimal) but out of private  
sponsorship. The recipient is announced at the MLA convention. In 2013  
the society has added a prize for best article in Pound scholarship,  
which will be awarded next year for the first time at the ALA  
convention in Washington.
In 2013, the society has also received the opportunity to participate  
with a regular panel at the Louisville conference. Starting with 2014,  
the EPS has an assured slot for this major annual event dedicated to  
20th century literature in relation to the arts. Our panel for 2014 is  
called: Contributions to the Poetics of Ezra Pound?s Cantos:  
The Paideuma number for 2013 is dedicated to Burt Hatlen and is a  
memorial to his great work and service to both the Ezra Pound Society,  
as long-term Secretary and to the National Poetry Foundation, as its  
Director for eighteen years. In 2001, one of his initiatives made  
possible a greater definition of the profiles of both organisations:  
he decided to open up Paideuma to the poetry of American modernism  
more generally, retaining a substantial focus on Pound scholarship  
(Hatlen, letter to the EPS, June 15, 2001). This decision, while  
favoring the development of the NPF away from Pound studies strictly  
conceived, has proved problematic for scholars who would prefer to  
remain within the more circumscribed area of author research.
The time has now come, I think, to reconsider the by-laws of 1992, to  
attune them to the situation of the scholarly community as it now  
stands, and to see how we can improve the functioning of our society.

Ahearn, Barry and Hugh Witemeyer. ?The Ezra Pound Society.? Dictionary  
of Literary Biography Yearbook. Ed. Matthew Bruccoli. Detroit: Gale,  
2001. 455-456.
Bulletin Board Paideuma 8 1 (Spring 1979)
Bulletin Board Paideuma 21 1-2 (Spring Fall 1992)
Bulletin Board Paideuma 21 3 (Winter 1992)
Hatlen, Burt. ?Carroll Terrell and Great American Poetry Wars.?  
Paideuma 26 2-3 (Fall/Winter1997): 33-62.
Ezra Pound Society materials.pdf (compiled by Gail Sapiel)

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