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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Session:         Page of 1029

Another thing that I noticed was this Ezra Pound controversy in the anthology.

Cerf:

I guess I was wrong on that.

Ezra Pound, as you probably remember, was--I consider -- a traitor to this country. He was broadcasting fascist propaganda from Italy during the War--venomous stuff. It was later established that he was insane. Well, I don't know whether he was insane or not. But he sounded just like Lord Haw-haw. Do you remember Lord Haw-haw? Oh, you don't. You're too young. He was a traitorous Englishman who, in the middle of Germany, was broadcasting, trying to pervert American and British soldiers. That's precisely what Ezra Pound was doing in Italy.

At the time we had an anthology of poetry coming up, done for us by Edmund Wilson. Wilson was a distinguished anthologist, and I was distressed to discover that he wanted to include several of the Cantos of Ezra Pound. This was the height of the War, and I said, “I'll be damned if I'm going to publish Ezra Pound. Any book that has my name on it, isn't going to have Ezra Pound in it.” After a knockdown fight with the anthologist, we brought the book out without the Ezra Pound thing. Edmund Wilson raised hell and I discovered to my intense surprise and horror that almost every important critic sided with him and not me. They said that this was a poetry anthology and I was acting as a censor with no right to leave him out because I didn't





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