pound the virginian


On July 14, 1959, the Richmond News Leader ran an editorial by Ezra Pound entitled “Keynes Brainwashed Electorate with Economic Hogwash.” It was his first and last publication in the Virginia newspaper—despite a yearlong stint as its foreign correspondent in Europe. In typical Pound style, it was a scathing swipe at the English economist, occasioned by an article that Pound had not bothered to read. Nevertheless, his editor, James J. Kilpatrick, was relieved to find the article publishable. Since the previous summer, Pound had been submitting letters and articles from Italy on a handful of topics, usually politics, none of which Kilpatrick had deemed coherent enough to run. In a letter to a friend, Pound said he had written this last piece in “what I believe is clear and simple (as he request) language.”

The bulk of Pound’s feisty, allusive writing for the paper, however, remained unprinted and unknown, buried in Kilpatrick’s desk drawer—it was “over Richmond’s head,” Pound proposed—until it eventually was donated to the University of Virginia Library. Assembled in print here, for the first time, these eight pieces represent some of the preoccupations, musings, and typically bold assertions of the physically and mentally aging poet in his final period of sustained energetic writing and correspondence. They also illuminate a nearly forgotten moment in Pound’s life—a crucial late crossroads, when he briefly considered taking Virginia, instead of Italy, as his final home.

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