Thanks, Roxana, for this wonderful information. I did not know all of this, certainly, and many people want to know what's what. You are great and continue to inject life into the society. I wrote Mary de Rachewiltz about your work, and she is happy. Love, Grace
From: Roxana Preda <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, November 10, 2013 2:26 PM
Subject: EPS Information bulletin no.3/November 10, 2013
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 overlooked.
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 unnecessary.
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: Epic-Image-Music.
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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