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- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine

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Cameron McWhirter <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 28 Jan 1998 09:32:03 -0400
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re sarah graham's problems with finding pound in the UK.
 
first, on one level, finding modernist poetry in any u.s. or u.k.
bookstore is somewhat of a problem anyway. my wife is a buyer for a
large independent that has stores in Ohio, Kentucky and Tenn. Not
exactly Boston, New Haven, New York, but the stores do well and they
stock an impressive assortment of stuff. its the only bookstore i have
ever seen that had a hardback copy of the complete Maximus poems on the
shelf. BUT not surprisingly: poetry does not sell well at all, so
stocking it is less and less a priority for a company out to make a
profit.Thank God for New Directions all these years, or all of this
stuff would have gone out of the general circulation a long time ago.
 
Second, difficulty in finding Pound's work today i think is in perfect
keeping with Pound's position in our consumer culture. The same was true
throughout his lifetime. Thumb through Gallup: example, Cathay, 1915,
had 1,000 copies. 1000 copies? lined up against the mainstream "poets"
of the day, that was chicken feed. Today, the Cantos probably sell 1,000
copies throughout the U.S. every year. Line that up against the latest
Dilbert cartoon book or another "how to get ahead in business"
masterwork.
 
Third, I have a decent collection of pound's work, and most of these
books I picked up at used book stores. At the Strand, in New York City,
which claims to be the largest bargain bookstore, I have found several
copies of Faber Pound books discounted dramatically. Example: Literary
Essays. I can only assume they were shipped to the U.S. in bulk after
they failed to sell in the U.K.