Saturday, March 02, 2019

Edward Mendelson: Auden on No-Platforming Pound



Fri, Mar 1, 4:22 PM (17 hours ago)

Dear Ed,
How wonderful to come on your account of Auden’s so rational way of dealing with the Pound/ Random House matter, if only I liked his poetry as much. Pound played a brief exemplary guiding role in my life, and a much longer and deeper one in the lives of various acquaintances of my youth – there is probably a piece though not by me on those various kids that went to visit, pay obeisance whatever to their guide post at St. Elizabeth during his years of safe keeping there. A felow by the name of Frank Versace, back at Haverford was the first.
       My real introduction to modernism occurred I suppose during my junior year abroad via a great Shakespeare scholar’s seminar at university of Munich during my first semester. The second semester, in Berlin, meant Georgy Lukacs and Brecht. In between Ionesco and Paris and a lot of theater.

Senior year I wrote the two good essays of those four years, one on the Ur-Faust; the other on Mauberly.  My affair with Pound included his early work,Personae and early cantos, but particularly his Abc of Reading, his exemplary way of assisting artists and founding magazines as centers of creativity of that kind, he sharpened my ear which had been pretty much under the influence of Whitman since I was introduced to his work at Oakwood School, by a great teacher - Yoshiro Sonbanmatsu  - who also introduced us at an early age to Funagain Finnegan,  there was a time I knew the Anna Livia Plurabellesection by heart - and it probably is still locked up in my brain and who knows what event it would take for it to burst forth to my own immense surprise. It was The Abc of Reading and Pound’s idea of a magazine that came to mind during an early winter orgy in Fairbanks in 1960 after I had dropped out of grad school  - prospect of being part of a department for the rest of my life had made me go dead – and I was dwelling on what adventure to pursue after nine months of forest fire fighting and geological surveying in that by and large immense pristine environment, and while so pondering the possibility of driving a nitroglycerine truck in the Venezuelan oil fields or diving for conches in the south sea, what I really loved, that adventure in the literary trade came to mind.  The publisher of the magazine, Michael Lebeck was one of those Poundians that had traveled to D.C and he too went mad in his way -
, - I myself had no interest and was then also not really aware of the depth of Pound's insanity and Lebeck's I might sense now that I can read certain indications   – I think folks who are mad for beauty often go mad, and I imagine that aside of whatever sufficient psychoanalytic explanation for the phenomenon there are neurological ones that go back to the moment that you found your mother the most beautiful object in the world as you were being suckled.

Metamorphosis then also published a goodly section from that progeny of well endowed Bavarian beer vessels, Fred Seidel  hisFinal Solutions, who and Pound, in his account, hit it off during his visits. So for how long was Pound mad ? Apparently in some ways forever, but then also not.  Beats me.

Cerf I met once. He dragged Frank Sinatra to Elaine’s as part of an attempt to sign up his biography - they were introduced to that hell hole by Random House author William Styron with whom I and my then best friend, fellow Elaine’s regular Frank Conroy, had become acquainted – best conversations about Faulkner, ever, and we then all sat down way in back, Frank’s friend, the painter Sven Lukin , too. Don’t remember a thing about Cerf but Sinatra was awfully well behaved, nor did his body guard need to intervene. At the end of the evening, prior for a night cap at his regular Jilly’s ,he invited those present to join him on his 707 that was going to London in another week. I who was then I think briefly the representative of Suhrkamp Verlag via the Lantz-Donation agency had to beg off, so did my date, an actress who was starring in Butterflies are Free . However , that brief and pleasant encounter with Sinatra would have the consequence about 25 years later during a heavy downpour in Santa Rosalia, Baja Sur: at a bar at a motel a distinguished Roman senator type Mexican voiced the line “old blue eyes” as a Sinatra song started up, and we fell into a conversation: as a young man this now head of the Federales de Caminos[highway police] of the state of Baja Sur had been a waiter at the 21 One Club and had served Sinatra who had been well behaved and tipped well. That encounter led to my visiting Mulege during a Todos Santos weekend and deciding to live there for some years instead of the arid Bahia des Los Angeles where I would have had little to diverge me from my work.  Best ever,
Michael Roloff-------


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MICHAEL ROLOFF exMember Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website


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