We have let the 150th anniversary of the birth of W.B. Yeats on June 13th go by unmentioned. Yes, really , 150 years, 1865. In her impressionable youth Gert was a great Yeats fan, and she still thinks he wrote some of the greatest poems in the language, even if he was a rather silly man. Here are some slightly left-field observations, courtesy of Ezra Pound.
I remember his telling the story of his trip to Rapallo to show the manuscript of ‘The Tower’ to Ezra Pound. He stayed at the hotel and then went around and left the manuscript in a packet for Pound, accompanied by a letter saying I am an old man, this may be the last poetry I’ll ever write, it is very different from my other work – all that kind of thing – and what do you think of it? Next day he received a postcard from Ezra Pound with the one word “ putrid”. Yeats was rather amused by that. (Stephen Spender, p. 34)
He tried to learn fencing at 45, which was amusing. He would thrash around with the foils like a whale. He sometimes gave the impression of being an even worse idiot than I am. (Ezra Pound, p. 348).
George Plimpton The Writer’s Chapbook, Viking 1989.