It seems appropriate that my first exposure to Ezra Pound and the Cantos was when I was a teenager living and studying in a small New England town and our family was left homeless due to a devasting fire that burnt our Greek Revival Main Street "mansion", aptly called 4 Columns, to the ground. The local industrial magnate donated the use of one of his houses in town, which we called the "Brown House", because of its ugly brown shingles, for us to live. In that fire I lost all my poetry, plays and stories, including a number of stories I wrote from the time of 10 years old about all of my baseball heros. I was an avid reader and at the time was reading Patterson (W.C. Williams) and the line "fire is the first law..." always rang clear. I had few possessions, mainly things salvaged from the rubble of that fire. When we moved into the "Brown House" I took the upstairs room. I can remember so vividly the image of my first meeting with Pound, as I moved my paltry things into the upstairs room, I shut the door and there tacked to it was the NY Times Magazine Obituary of Pound, his photo I've added to the blog, along with "Pull Down Thy Vanity" from the Pisan Canto 81. I read the article, and that yellowed copy of the Times obituary remained on my door -- it would be years later that in the stacks of the NC State University library that I would read the Pisan Cantos. In between that time I seemed to do everything the master demanded studied Greek and Latin and Old English . I studied poetry extensively, ironically, in all the courses I took Pound was never even an after thought-- semmingly banned from the hallowed halls of academia.
I don't know whatever happened to that old clipping, I'd like to think that just as Pound would have liked it, some other poet occupied that room (that house still stands having been moved a half a mile from where it originally stood), and maybe began an Odyssean like voyage through the choppy and fragmented seas of the Cantos to arrive finally a better poet and human being -- "to be men not destroyers..."