The painful and tragic story of pound’s Fascist activities and final years

P5_Perloff_Web_1189732hMarjorie Perloff at The Times Literary Supplement:

What makes the Pound story so fascinating is that it was in the prison camp at Pisa that he wrote what many consider his greatest book of poetry, the Pisan Cantos, which won the first Bollingen Prize (1948), setting off a firestorm in literary circles that continues to this day. Again, it was at St Elizabeths that Pound produced the Rock-Drill and Thrones sections of the Cantos, as well as his Confucian translations and commentaries. St Elizabeths was where he held court to many of America’s then rising poets, from Charles Olson to Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop. Back in Italy in the 1960s, he found himself a cult figure, sought out by poets from around the world who considered him, in the words of (the Jewish) Allen Ginsberg, “the greatest poet of the age”.

Volume Three also brings Pound’s personal story to its climax. The forced wartime ménage-à-trois with his wife Dorothy and mistress Olga Rudge (the mother of his daughter Mary) ended abruptly with Pound’s arrest. For the moment, Dorothy had won: she moved to Washington, visited her husband every day and was given control of his financial affairs. Documents make clear that after the first year or two, she was quite satisfied to have her husband remain at St Elizabeths, where he was safe from Olga and had none of his usual financial worries. Pound himself was resigned: at St Elizabeths he developed new friendships as well as love affairs – first with the bohemian, drug-addicted Sheri Martinelli and then with a twenty-three-year-old schoolteacher, Marcella Spann, who accompanied the Pounds on their return to Italy, only to have Dorothy and Mary conspire to ship her back to her native Texas.

more here.