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Bennett Cerf chose not to include poems by Ezra Pound because Pound was a fascist. Some don’t assign now John Howard Yoder or Karl Barth and many others could be mentioned.
What say you? Assign, read, cite or No?
WH - Auden - Response - Bennett - Cerf
Here’s WH Auden’s response to Bennett Cerf’s decision:
Auden first wrote to Cerf on January 29, 1946, a week after Cerf’s letter appeared in Gannett’s Herald Tribune column:
Surprise - Dismay - Exclusion - Request - Poems
It was with surprise and dismay that I heard of the exclusion, at your request, of poems by Ezra Pound from the Modern Library anthology.
I decided not to do or say anything until you had had an opportunity to state your case; now, having read your letter in The Herald Tribune of Jan 22, I feel it my duty to write you this letter.
Position - Poems - Question - Content - Intention
Let me begin by saying how much I respect you for stating your position so honestly when you could so easily have made it almost impregnable by claiming that the poems in question were fascist in content or in intention, a claim which, however unjust, would be almost impossible to refute in public because of the space such a critical discussion would require. To your honor you have not taken the evasive course but said straight out that your only objection to the poems is that their author is a traitor.
On this issue: “Shall a book be judged by what it contains or by the character of the man that wrote it, or, to use your terms, does a man who has sacrificed any claims to the title of ‘American’ thereby sacrifice any claims to the title of ‘Poet’?”, I have only two points to add to what Mr Gannet[t] and others have already said. Firstly that...
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