Ezra Pound in venice
Born in 1885 in Hailey, Idaho, Ezra Pound first visited Venice at the
age of 13 on a three-month tour of Europe with his mother and Aunt
Frances. He returned in 1908, living for several months in a house on
the corner of Rio S. Trovaso. Many years later, in Canto LXXVI, he
mentions the view from his room:
"Well, my window...looked out on the Squero where Ogni Santi...meets San Trovaso...things have ends and beginnings"
The house is situated next to the walled garden and above the maritime
supplies shop; his room was at the top right. Here he wrote his first
book of poems "A Lume Spento".
He also lived on the corner of Rio S. Vio above what is now a print
shop, diagonally across from the Anglican Church. Whilst sitting at the
water's edge in the Campo S. Vio he considered throwing those early
poems into the Grand Canal.
He returned to Venice in 1958 and to live with Olga Rudge, whose house
was on Calle Querini, one street off the Guidecca Canal on the Rio della
Fornace. There is a plaque identifying the house.
Pound died on 1 November 1972, aged 87, with Olga by his side. He lies
near Diaghilev and Stravinsky in the protestant section of S Michele
Cemetery. Four gondoliers dressed in black rowed the body to the island
Olga died in 1996 and was buried next to Pound, both beneath simple
marble tombstones engraved by Venetian sculptor Joan Fitzgerald, who was
a close friend. "O God, what great kindness have we done in times
past and forgotten it, That thou givest this wonder unto us, O God of
waters?" (Night Litany)
Pound also stayed for two years in the 1960s at the Hotel alla Salute and Allen Ginsberg found a house not far away. They used to meet in the hotel garden.
It was here that the famous conversation of 28th October 1967 with
Ginsberg, Peter Russell and Michael Reck took place, in which Pound made
clear his deep regret for his earlier anti-semitism, saying: "... but
my worst mistake was the stupid suburban anti-Semitic prejudice, all
along that spoiled everything ... I found after seventy years that I was
not a lunatic but a moron ... I should have been able to do better ..."
(recorded by Michael Reck and published in The Evergreen Review the following year).
Peggy Guggenheim also stayed at the hotel; her contemporary art gallery is close by at Palazzo Venier dei Leoni.
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