Pound, Ezra. (1885–1972) [Diamond, David. (1915–2005)]
"I am god damned if I am going to meet any more Americans" - Typed Letter Signed to DAVID DIAMOND
Typed letter signed from the important poet to composer David Diamond, refusing to meet with him and denouncing in strident terms the work of the Guggenheim Foundation. N.d. [April 1938], 1 p. Pound writes: "Dear Mr Diamond, I doubt very much if any man who has been passed by Erskine and the Guggenheim committee can do anything that wd/ interest me. At any rate there are only about 200 dollars avialable [sic] for work of men NOT subsidized by [Guggenheim Foundation staff] Moe and Aydelotte. And as these scavangers [sic] have always opposed any efforts of mine and the work of any and every good artist whom I have recommended to them BEFORE said artists were very well and widely known I don't honestly think I can be bothered with any of their favorite composers. Put it this way: Until some, any, American institution spend a little money on something I believe in I am god damned if I am going to meet any more Americans. Yrs all too frankly, [Ezra Pound.]" The letter has been damaged by fire at the head and foot, leaving only part of the signature visible; this occurred in a house fire when David Diamond's possessions were being stored at the home of Willem de Kooning. Overall soiling and toning from the fire; holograph corrections; legible and overall good. Approx. 9 x 10.5 inches (22.7 x 26.5 cm).
The present letter is published as no. 81 in Pound/Cummings: The Correspondence of Ezra Pound and E. E. Cummings (University of Michigan Press, 1996), together with Diamond's original letter to Pound asking to meet (no. 80) and two related letters between Pound and Cummings (nos. 82 & 83). Diamond's original letter (April 3, 1938) mentions an article by Pound in the journal The Townsman and asks to meet with Pound on Cummings' recommendation: "... I first want to say thanks for this, and at Cummings suggestion ask if you would like to see some of my music that might interest you and Townsman readers. Cummings says he has written you about me. [...] Want to know anything about me? I'm twenty-three, have written great quantities of music in all forms, played a great deal in America. Am a Guggenheim Fellow this year and shall go over to Paris for the winter, and this will give me the itch to go on and see you in Rapallo if you say yes. [...] I hope you'll write soon and say you want to know my music."
Not only did Pound aggressively reject Diamond's request to meet, he also wrote back angrily to Cummings about Diamond, referring to him in anti-Semitic terms: "These goddbuggared and allshitten endowments are of value ONLY in relation to the intelligence of their selecting committees whereon I <NEVER> am. I may be a fuckin saint/ but even my patience . has an end/ and for a goddam kike with 1500 dollars to come to me when NONE of my <nominees> ever get ANY of the bacon, is merely an irritation/ esp/ as his letter was NOT a composition to melt the heart." (Pound/Cummings, no. 83).
From the collection of David Diamond, considered one of the preeminent American composers of his generation. He enjoyed wide success in the 1940's and 1950's, before the serial and modernist trends largely pushed him into the shadows. The New York Times described him as "part of what some considered a forgotten generation of great American symphonists, including Howard Hanson, Roy Harris, William Schuman, Walter Piston and Peter Mennin."
Literature & Classics