“Objectivists” 1927-1934 Section 13 - Notes Contents

Section 13 - Plans for the Poetry Issue

Back in March 1930, when Pound and Zukofsky were courting Eliot and Kirstein, Pound was using them as lures to engage Harriet Monroe:

Why not jazz up the old mag. once again; with all these new periodicals etc. poussing and throwing cabages [sic] at you.

. . .

I think you miss things. Criterion and H & Horn both taking on Zukofsky. If you can’t liven up the verse; you cd. at least develop the critical section. Zuk. and Damon and some of these brighter lights might have been sharpening up the crit. perception in yr. back pages for some time past.1

Pound’s sometimes vituperative disagreements with Monroe about the purposes and uses of Poetry went back to its inception, but with this note a new seed had been planted.

In September 1930, Pound received from Zukofsky two essays, “Charles Reznikoff: Sincerity and Objectification” and “American Poetry 1920-1930.” He had two reservations concerning the Reznikoff essay: he thought Zukofsky’s prose was too contorted and Reznikoff’s work was not technically proficient. Nevertheless, he decided to recommend Zukofsky to Harriet Monroe. He wrote Zukofsky the 26th:

= on hasty - = insp. == you must stop tangling yr. sentences.

= got to simplify. write subject predic.  obj. = AFTER


you have abs. mastered simple (even to platichood) style, you can start convolutin’ =

. . .

and R’s lack of technique worries me too much.

I will write Harriet today or tomorrow = and if you like will edit the mss when I get back to Rapallo.

. . .

P.S. Have writ to Harriet

Have told her she ought to print the Rez. — & that you ought to do crit. for her regular & that she ought to do a special number devoted to people D. McKenzie believes in & that you are willing to write about.2

Donal McKenzie was the editor of the fifth and final issue of Morada, published as number 5 trilingually in Italy (probably December 1930) with commentary by Pound and a poem by Zukofsky, “Dedication—D. R.,” probably submitted by Pound.3 Morada was founded in New Mexico by Norman Hacleod, who edited the first three issues. Number 4 was never edited. McKenzie and Macleod had also begun by September to edit Front, a trilingual international, radical, literary magazine whose first issue was published in December 1930 with a statement by Pound, a poem by Zukofsky, “Ask of the Sun,” and work by Macleod, Richard Johns of Pagany, and Charles Henri Ford of Blues.4

As Pound indicated to Zukofsky, he wrote to Monroe on 26 September 1930:

Dear Harriet

Before leavin’ home yesterday I recd. 2 essays by Zukofsky. You really ought to get his Reznikof. = He is one of the very few people making any advance in criticism. =he ought to appear regularly in “Poetry”

The crit. in the Reznikof. is of value, apart from what one may think of the subject.

Hang it all. — you printed my “Don’ts” & Ford’s essay on Poetry in 1913. etc. & they set a date. You ought not to let the magazine drift into being a mere passive spectator of undefined & undefinable events.

A prominent americ. homme de lettres came to me last winter saying you had alienated every active poet in the U.S. — one ought not be left undefended against such remarks.

There is new bilin [talent?] now at work. Zuk. has a definite critical gift that ought to be used.

D. McKenzie (of Morada) has def. conviction re a new line of writers that he believes in = after all it is 16 years since 1914. & 18 since 1912 = It is time that our sons & bastards began to show a life of their own, erected on our ruings & munniments.

Zuk’s address is 1110 Miller Ave. Berkeley, Cal.

If you will recall the past years.

you can remember that I have never before stated there was a new group, or new line, or new critic. I have told you (rightly) from time to time that there was a new or old isolated writer.

You cd. get back into the ring. if you wd. print a number containing only people McKenzie believes in & that Zukofsky is ready to treat with serious criticism.

Must make one no. of Poet. different from another if you want to preserve life as distinct from mere continuity.



And then two final notes: “McKenzie is in Munich. but Macleod is still. at Albuquerque N. Mex.” and “C’mon you aint ossified yet.”5 Pound had never been proved wrong in his estimation of literary talent. His letter therefore prompted Monroe to invite Zukofsky to edit an issue to show the work of his new group.

Zukofsky’s letters to Harriet Monroe of 12, 14, and 20 October and his letter to Pound of 13 October express gratitude for the opportunity they offered him but reservations about their expectation that he would use this opportunity to publicize a “new group.” He felt he did not have a new group to publicize, only new work and new names—good work by known and unknown writers. Specifically, he hoped to get work by Pound and E. E. Cummings, and he had work by Williams. Cummings’ work is instructive of the “Objectivist” intent to emphasize “cadence,” as Zukofsky wrote in “American Poetry 1920-1930,” “by arrangement of line and typography.” Cummings, Zukfosky told Monroe, succeeded in presenting with typography not merely the effects of the printed work, but also the effects of the spoken word.6 Williams’ poem “The Botticellian Trees,” he told Monroe, proved that Williams’ work had developed since Al Que Quiere (1917) and Sour Grapes (1921), although the critics had not recognized this, perhaps since Williams had not been able to publish the best of it.

Zukofsky also named specific new writers, including Charles Reznikoff, although Reznikoff was not new to Monroe, since she had accepted his work in 1917 (see Section 7). Zukofsky was sorry that Reznikoff’s excellent poem “The English in Virginia: April 1607” would not be available, since he had sent it to Richard Johns who accepted it for the fall issue of Pagany. Zukofsky also named Jerry Reisman, Carl Rakosi, George Oppen, Payson Loomis, and, Zukofsky’s student at Madison, Betty Zane Grey. Zukofsky thought Miss Grey wrote with greater clarity than her father, Zane Grey, although in his next letter to Monroe he withdrew her as a serious possibility, feeling that her talent had not yet matured. As for including his own work, Zukofsky wished something could be selected by Monroe, but suggested to her the seventh movement of “A”, which he described as a set of seven sonnets, a new development, he felt, in the craft of writing sonnets, but also together a rondeau or fugue set inside “A” as a whole, which was also a fugue. Zukofsky asked Monroe whether she would recommend him for a Guggenheim, and added that “A” treated the matter of the project he proposed to the Foundation, a contemporary version—if possible—of Dante’s De Vulgaria E1oguentia.7

Although Zukofsky did not feel he could present a new group, he wrote to Pound that perhaps Pound might know of one, and offered to include any manuscripts that Pound would send by British or American writers including Basil Bunting and, if his work were available, the author of The Ecliptic, to Williams.8 Zukofsky also asked Pound for the addresses of Rakosi and Loomis, and (unsure of the spelling) for information about “Edmund Coveloski,” whom he had learned Pound had endorsed. Finally, Zukofsky welcomed Pound’s critical comments for publication and asked for a “Canto,” which, he felt, would be “new.”9

Since Zukofsky felt that energized language is rare, and wished that his issue would consist of it entirely, he would not be limited to the recent, the formerly unknown, or the young. He would include six or more writers, he told Monroe, who had not been able to publish their finest work, but these would include Williams, who was neither young nor unknown. The work of Williams and Pound was new only in the sense of being durable. “In depicting the motions of the ‘human heart,’” Pound wrote, “the durability of the writing depends on the exactitude. It is the thing that is true and stays true that keeps fresh for the new reader.”10 Zukofsky wished his group would be new in this sense only.

Zukofsky’s letters to Monroe and Pound also reveal his speculations about possible editorial content. He was reluctant, he told Monroe, to write an editorial, and asked Monroe whether she would write one, or whether she thought “American Poetry 1920-1930” would do, since it treated his editorial principles. In his next letter to her, however, he wrote that the editors of Symposium had accepted it. Writing to Pound, Zukofsky also considered whether his review of XXX Cantos would do; however, he had submitted it to Hound and Horn. In any event, his essay on Reznikoff also treated his editorial principles, and would suffice, he felt, after it was shortened by converting its first paragraph to a bibliographical note, reducing its number of examples, and omitting its discussion of Reznikoff’s prose. He felt its discussion of Reznikoff’s plays should be retained, although condensed, and asked if Monroe agreed. Finally Zukofsky warned that he would like to continue Pound’s tradition of introducing a French poet new to the U.S. by including his translation of René Taupin’s article on Andre Salmon.11

Zukofsky’s initial speculations about the contents of the issue he would edit proved to be largely true. The issue in fact includes Williams’ “The Botticellian Trees,” work by Reznikoff, Rakosi, Oppen, his own “A”-7, his essay on Reznikoff, and his translation of Taupin. Work by Jerry Reisman was excluded for lack of space, and Pound ruled out Payson Loomis, whom he claimed was “too tired & sophisticated.”12 Perhaps Zukofsky thought that the work of his friend Reisman was not sufficiently “Objectivist,” and agreed with Pound that the work of Loomis was not sufficiently new. But Zukofsky did not agree with Pound that the work of Pound and Cummings was not sufficiently “Objectivist” and new, although he could not persuade them to contribute their work. Pound, however, contributed critical comments on Carnevali, forwarded manuscripts by Basil Bunting, Carnevali, Hemingway and Rakosi (with his address), and flooded Zukofsky with a river of editorial advice. Pound’s work, critical ideas, and admired writers were perfectly acceptable to Zukofsky. Zukofsky accepted but also excluded for lack of space a statement from Pound, in place of a “Canto,” to have been printed in large letters, centered on the page, to the effect that Pound protested certain impediments to literary life in America.13 Such a protest, characteristic of Pound’s editorials in the issues of his Exile in 1927 and 1928, expressed the original reason for the existence of the group Pound had been urging Zukofsky to form.

In spite of Zukofsky’s doubt that he could use his issue of Poetry to present a new group, the writers he admired cohered as a group according to the principles which he had already realized in the essays which he now considered as editorials for his issue. He now had reason to accept Pound’s offer of 26 September to edit his manuscripts. He asked Pound on 16 October to edit his work both on XXX Cantos and on Reznikoff, adding that he thought the distinction between sincerity and objectification should be retained for its editorial importance. As for his suggested co-editor, he asked whether Donal McKenzie was Pound, an unknown, or non-existent.14

Pound received Zukofsky’s letter of 14 October 1930 and one from Monroe. On 24 October 1930 he thanked Monroe with cheers and exclamation marks, and, since “you rashly ask for further hint,” offered Monroe his counsel:

Did I or did I not suggest tempering Zukofsky with McKenzie? Zuk to provide the good sense and McKenzie the conviction of the value of the new group. I dunno what can be done now to make up for that bit of motive power. I may have said “or” instead of “and.”

Although Pound said “and” in his letter of 26 September, he gave Monroe Zukofsky’s but not McKenzie’s address, and so led Monroe only to Zukofsky. Pound wrote, “I sho iz glad you let these young scrubs have the show to their selves, an ah does hope they dust out your office,” but feared “that Mr. Zukofsky will be just too Goddam prew dent.” Since Zukofsky lacked conviction as to the existence of the “new group,” Pound felt exortation would be needed: “I shall urge Zuk to take the March or May in order to have time to get the most dynamite into it.”15 This effort, however, failed. Zukofsky would not take the time to do what would have been plainly out of character. Even though he agreed with Pound on all the issues, he would not campaign for them in Pound’s manner.

On the same day, Pound began a series of long letters to Zukofsky. His first expressed his excitement that Monroe had put Zukofsky “at the wheel for the Spring cruise” but advised Zukofsky to share that wheel with the more forcible McKenzie:

At any rate since it was a letter from donal mckenzie that smoked me up into writin Harriet the letter that awoke in her nobl booZUMM [sic] the fire of enthusiasm that led her to let you aboard [,] I wd. [sic] appreciate it if you wd. invite mckenzie to do one of the prose articles for the number and state his convictions as forcibly as possible. . . .

after which I see no reason why you shdnt. add an editorial note saying why you disagree.

Poetry has never had enUFF disagreement INSIDE [its] own wall.

. . .

mckenzie might provide the conviction and enthusiasm (which you somewhat lack) and leave you to promote the good sense

. . .

I can not GODDDDDAMMMMIT find mckenzie’s LIST of just men but I am asking him to send it to you.

Although Pound, in this letter, gave Zukofsky McKenzie’s address in Munich and by the 28th of October sent McKenzie a note to forward his list to Zukofsky, I have found no evidence that McKenzie wrote Zukofsky, or that Zukofsky wrote McKenzie. McKenzie does not appear in the issue, but Zukofsky did list him as having been omitted due to lack of space.

Pound realized that the public would find greater interest in a position taken both with conviction and by someone new. Although he wished to help Zukofsky, he also wished to keep from public view his influence on Zukofsky:

need hardly say that I am ready to be of anny [sic] assistance I can. I do NOT think it wd. be well to insert my point of view. I shd. like you to consider mckenzie’s point of view and your own.

IF there is anyone whom you want to include and cant [sic] get directly, I might be of use in raking them in, but I dont [sic] want to nominate any one

. . .

For the rest, it is up to you to tell me. I can NOT be expected to know wot [sic] the young are doin’


I see NO reason for you or for me to tell anyone that I have had an indirect participation in the whatshallwe nego=well=ci=moreor1ess=ation.

Pound felt that his ties to the older generation would muddle what he wanted to be, as he wrote on the 24th, “a fairly homogenious [sic] number; emphasis on the progress made since 1912; concentrated drive; not attempt to show the extreme diversity; though it cd. be mentioned in yr. crit.”

Pound’s influence, nevertheless, was strong and clear. It consisted of not only editorial advice but poetic principles which dated from 1912 and his Imagiste anthology of 1914:

I don’t know that I mentioned my statement to R. A. or praps it was to W.C.W. that I shd. have considered tying up with that lot of survivers game a species of betrayal of your generation. (or some less rhetorical term, probably a list mentioning you and McA.).16

The Imagist Anthology, published 10 May 1930 and mentioned by Williams above, included work by Aldington, John Cournos, H. D., John Gould Fletcher, F. S. Flint, Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, and Williams and was introduced by Ford and by Glenn Hughes. Hughes was writing a critical study of the Imagists centrally concerned with what Pound called the Amygists. The anthology represented a partial reunion of writers involved in the free verse movement ten to fifteen years earlier. Hughes wrote in his study:

My point . . . is that the imagist banner is here flaunted not as a challenge but as a symbol, and that the imagists are here mustered not for a charge but for parade. Even if two or three of the marchers seem to limp slightly, the parade is nevertheless a success, for there is sufficient fame attached to the names of these veterans to lend the occasion an air of triumph.17

Pound wanted Zukofsky to make a new charge instead of merely limping in review. Pound felt that to have contributed to the issue would have been a betrayal of the generation of writers including Zukofsky who could fight the war.

Pound advised Zukofsky to set his group in context by including a historic section consisting of “8 or 12 pages with the classics of the intervening period. (I have in mind Hemingway’s ‘They all made peace’ and the Neothomist poem (with the title correctly spelled).”18 Hemingway’s “Neothomist Poem” (with its title misspelled) was in Exile 1. “They All Made Peace—What is Peace?” was first published in the Little Review in the spring of 1923, probably through the influence of the review’s foreign editor, Pound. It is a parody of the Lausanne Peace Conference in 1922 written in the style of Gertrude Stein.19 A “distillation of an event,” wrote Hemingway’s editor, Nicholas Gerogiannis, it was reprinted in Zukofsky’s “Program: ‘Objectivists’ 1931” as an example of epos, the inextricable “direction of historic and contemporary particulars.” Zukofsky s reprinting of the poem, introduced with the statement that it “is as good now as it was in The Little Review in 1922” (misprint for 1923),20 defied Pound’s advice: “Carnevali can prob. do as well as he ever has done. Cummings and Hem. ??? hist. sec. only.”21 Pound felt that Hemingway, Cummings, Williams, and himself should be relegated to a historic section, that no one over 40 should be in the new group. Zukofsky felt, on the contrary, that great work never became dated.

Pound also advised Zukofsky to provide the appearance of conviction and enthusiasm:

The Imagiste movement was made with four or 5 poems of Hilda’s, three or four of Richard’s and one ole Bill Water Closet Wm’s. plus y.v.t. or if you like manipulated by y.v.t. whereto were added about the same amt. of stuff that wdn’t. damage (i.e. one hoped it wdnt. damage the effek).22

Whereas the Amygist anthologies published each author’s selections without editing, the work in Des Imagistes, as Layeh Bock has shown, was chosen and elicited and even edited by Pound according to strict principles.23 Pound advised Zukofsky to do the same:

The other expert advice is: Invite the men you believe in. IF they don’t send stuff up to level of their best KEEP AT ’eM. Be takkful. Say you want to show what they can do, havent they something less open to attack. After all the position is xposed, challenges the record etc.

IF the number is convincingly better than the usual numbers of Poetry there is a chance (happens to be damn good chance) of rescuing the magazine from the slough of Zabel, Dillon and co. and making it what it was in 1912/13, the forum in which the Zeitideen WERE presented and discussed.

Much better to conduiser la dance in a well established and subsidized mag. than in a new indigent 6 leaf peryodiuncle likely to last for three numbers.

. . .

The prob. differs from mine in Des Imagistes. There, it was to make a very exiguous quantity go as far as possibl [sic]

You on the other foot have got to disentangle a far more multitudinous etc. etc.

plenty of chaps meaning what they say (with no lit. capc.)

they are your basis. you’ve got so to choose ’em as to hide their defects.

By getting the ten good lines the barstuds have writ, you compose more or less one hole man out of the lot, or one author.

Keep at ’em till you get stuff that is good enough. Fight with ’em the day after; that don’t matter.

If they don’t send in something good; relegate ’em to the historic section in small print. ten or a dozen poems wd. cover that.

. . .

The fact that it will be hard for you to satisfy yourself among yr. con’empraries is all to the good.

Pound sent a second letter on 25 October 1930, which added:

Get good stuff from people not perhaps good enough in themselves; but who can get through 8 lines or a page without giving themselves away;


a little really solid.

3 or 4 men can do the needful.24

Pound’s idea was to talk Monroe into doing a whole series of special numbers, first, Zukofsky’s, which was to be the “murkn number,” then an English number edited by Basil Bunting, and then a French number edited by René Taupin. Perhaps for this reason Pound advised Zukofsky: “Don’t lean on europe. Certainly NOT a translation of an essay on Salmon.”25 And later: “am for omitting foreigners from your number. That number shd. establish the new American line up.”26 Since Monroe didn’t consent to this plan, we are fortunate that Zukofsky had the independence to include among his “Objectivists” the British Bunting, and French Taupin, and the Italian Carnevali.

On 28 October 1930, Pound elaborated the purpose of his proposed historic section:

State of things to be disinfected//scence [sic] covered by dilutions of me; Bill and Possum Eliot:: also praps of Ed. Estlin [Cummings]/

plus mess caused by reaction against these dilutes. I mean the Tennysonian sonnet etc. now being done, and NOT so well done as in 1898 or when they were all trying to do it as well as Miss Edith Thomas//

then the whole

ngr [sic] and “sensitilité” of the bleatin nashun wuz concentrated on that cambric tea effort.

Since 1912 it has been divided.

Your li’l have fer the KALON KAI AGATHON [beautiful and the good] has got to make a clean up, as was done by the Don’ts and Des Imagiste.

(the anthology; or its justifiable parts)

as distinct from the Amygists.27

Although Pound repeatedly professed his desire to remain backstage of the Objectivist performance, on the 27th he noted:

Am also cogitating a note on criticism which you cd. have IF necessary, but it wd. du [sic] in some other issue of Poesy just about as well. Depending on whether you found yourself pushed for space, or embarearsed to fill the issue without using bunf.28

This “note” appears to be the article titled “The Situation” which Pound sent to Monore with this comment:

The enc. is not for Zuk’s number, which shd. be devoted to the new group. I have sent him merely a page on Carnevali designed to boost E. C’s stock. I think he can now be taken on his merits as distinct from his misfortunes.29

The page on Carnevali which Pound mentioned to Monroe would be incorporated by Zukofsky into “Program: ‘Objectivists’ 1931.” “The Situation,” published in Poetry (May 1931), presented Pound’s theory of the cycle of literary achievement: (1) dead tradition, (2) reform of technique, (3) pedantic attention to new technique, and (4) the new dead tradition. This cycle supposedly takes about 15 years to complete, since Pound suggests that “Objectivism” picks up again from where Imagisme left off:

It has taken us almost all the intervening years to get back to where we were in 1914, and possibily to get started forward.

. . .

The one newish phenomenon, toward the end of 1930, would seem to be a clear and definite declaration against provincialism both regional and urban.30

Zukofsky answered Pound, on 6 November 1930, in forty-three points and a postscript. Many of these points deal with McKenzie and editorial possibilities. Personally, Zukofsky was not interested in writing editorials nor arguing with McKenzie; he would rather be writing poetry. He agreed to ask for an editorial from McKenzie, but he would not promise to accept it for the issue. To Pound’s information that “several of mckenzie’s men were repd. in Pagany for Winter l930,”31 Zukofsky responded that he had read the work in Pagany, New Masses, and Morada and found it to have little merit. He felt the issue’s liveliness should depend on the poetry, not on the editorials.

Lively poetry, he felt, might be obtained from Basil Bunting (or other British writers of merit, in spite of Pound’s plan to reserve them for a British number which Bunting would edit), Whittaker Chambers, E. E. Cummings (if he could be persuaded), S. T. Hecht, Robert McAlmon, Henry Rolan (pseudonym), George Oppen, Carl Rakosi (if he could be found), Jerry Reisman, Charles Reznikoff, Williams (whose “The Botticellian Trees” proved his youth liveliness), and himself. It could not be obtained, he felt, from back issues of Poetry and he expressed disapproval or doubt of Emanuel Carnevali, Richard Johns, and Norman Macleod. He did not wish to repeat Hemingway’s “They All Made Peace: What is Peace?”

Pound advised Zukofsky to express a group dynamic by highlighting newness and energy: “I cant see that you need be catholic or inclusive; detach whatever seems to be the DRIVE or driving force or xpression of same.”32 Zukofsky’s “prewdent” reply is familiar. He would not present a new group, since the only advance since Des Imagistes had been a number of successful poems (judged according to Pound’s critical works) written by individuals. He would not work for a homogeneous issue, but he would pare it to the core, which would consist of six to eight “new” (little-known) writers and four to six “old” writers (represented by only “new” work)—Williams, Pound, McAlmon, and Cummings, but not Eliot unless Pound could certify that his latest work had improved. From Pound’s point of view, Zukofsky undercut the appearance of newness by including the work, however new itself, of older poets. Although such inclusiveness gave him a better selection of poetic excellence, it would not sufficiently inspire the masses, who required more than the pared core to turn them from their tired ways onto the “Objectivist” path. A “group” with “DRIVE” might prod them, but Zukofsky preferred to entice them. To the more bullying Pound, Zukofsky showed a lack of “conviction.”

Pound also suggested that page proportions should correspond with relative importance of contributors. Three main poets should have six pages each, three secondary should have six pages total, and six tertiary poets should have six pages total. These pages should then be followed by a historical survey of the classics of the period since Des Imagistes and the same number of pages of editorial criticism.33 Zukofsky agreed to this scheme, and the issue presents large selections by Rakosi, McAlmon, and Zukofsky only. Williams, Reznikoff, Oppen, Rexroth, and Bunting take second place, and the rest are limited to one poem or one page.

As for editorials, Zukofsky argued that his essay on Reznikoff must be included since Reznikoff might not be able to equal the poems Zukofsky had submitted for him to Pagany and included in the essay, since the essay makes general allusions to poetic history and presented Zukofsky’s critical position, since Zukofsky did not want to repeat what he had said in “American Poetry 1920-1930,” and since Monroe had approved of it. Zukofsky urged Pound to edit it, and he detailed what he thought could go or stay. If Pound would omit Zukofsky’s professorial prolixities and halve its length, he claimed, they both would have an essay to be proud of.

Zukofsky rejected Pound’s advice not to lean on Europe. Taupin’s review of André Salmon, he claimed, would reinforce nominalism, which he considered to be his own position.

Zukofsky also rejected Pound’s proposal for having a historic section in small print. Monroe prohibited small print and Zukofsky worried about copyrights. Besides, if he were to go by his statements in “American Poetry 1920-1930,” he would need to include work by Cummings, Eliot, McAlmon, Moore, Pound, Stevens, and Williams, whom he felt could not be relegated to past history.

Although Pound and Williams had appeared in Des Imagistes, Zukofsky felt that they had advanced considerably since then. If he were to represent what was happening in 1930, he felt he would have to include them. Pound’s generation was not obsolete if its recent work were as vital as Pound’s three cantos in Hound and Horn. Zukofsky urged Pound to contribute to the issue; Pound should appear as a contributor not as a father since he did what Norman Macleod only intended to do. Neither a poet’s age nor the passage of time determines poetic quality. Given such quality, Zukofsky thought his “movement” would be as valid as that of the first Imagistes. He ventured in his postscript that he was zealous whenever there was anything worthy of zea1.34

The existence of the “new group” had become less problematic. Initially, it might seem no more than Pound’s fiction to help persuade Monroe—tactfully denied by Zukofsky when he claimed that he did not have a “new group” but he did have “new work” and “new names.” However, when one sees that the work of Zukofsky’s contributors coheres along lines of certain principles and that Zukofsky knew and admired many of them, then one might well believe that Pound was correct and that Zukofsky was too prudent. Zukofsky not only had a “new group,” he eventually even seemed to accept its value. His statement that his “movement” would be as valid as that of the first lmagistes, for instance, seems to assert more than pride in reaction to Pound’s exortation—”The thing is to get out something as good as Des Imagistes.” And his letter to Monroe of 18 November 1930, which claims that he would probably have more of a group than he thought, seems more than another fiction to pacify Monroe.35

These letters began to establish not only the form of the “Objectivists” issue, but the form of the group itself. The final product diverges very little from the possibilities Zukofsky suggested to Monroe and Pound. The reason for this convergence have to do with the foundations and syntheses already established. Although this act began when the essays by Zukofsky on Reznikoff and American poetry of the twenties (with the catalyst of McKenzie’s letter to Pound) prompted Pound to recommend Zukofsky to Monroe, the stage had already been set by the relationship between Pound and Zukofsky, their agreement on principles and issues, and efforts begun to accomplish the goals that Pound had urged in the Exile be accomplished.

Permission to quote the letters by Ezra Pound at notes 1, 5, 28, and 29 from New Directions Pub. acting as agent, copyright © 2015 by Mary de Rachewiltz and Omar S. Pound. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Permission to quote the letters by Ezra Pound at notes 2, 12, 16, 18, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31, 32, and 33 from POUND/ZUKOFSKY, copyright © 1981, 1987 by the Trustees of the Ezra Pound Literary Property Trust. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.