Ezra Pound: University of Delaware Library.

"An endless poem of no known category": The Cantos

In September 1915, Pound wrote to a correspondent that he was “at work on a cryselephantine poem of immeasurable length which will occupy me for the next four decades unless it becomes a bore.” Greatly influenced by Browning’s Sordello at first, the Cantos ultimately became his life’s work, published in various installments, over the next fifty years, as he predicted. Much has been written about the Cantos; suffice it to say that they stand as a monument of twentieth century literature, alongside The Waste Land, Paterson, “A”, and The Maximus Poems (all of which Pound directly influenced) as an epic poem which will still be explicated and deciphered well into the twenty-first century.

  • Ezra Pound. A Draft of XVI Cantos of Ezra Pound: For the Beginning of a Poem of Some Length. Paris: Three Mountains Press, 1925.
    One of 90 copies.
  • Ezra Pound. A Draft of the Cantos 17-27 of Ezra Pound. London: John Rodker, 1928.
  • Ezra Pound. A Draft of XXX Cantos. Paris: Hours Press, 1930.
    This copy is inscribed by Pound.
  • Ezra Pound. Eleven New Cantos XXXI-XLI. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1934.
  • Ezra Pound. The Fifth Decad of Cantos. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1937.
  • Ezra Pound. Cantos LII-LXXI. Norfolk: New Directions, 1940.
  • Ezra Pound. Section, Rock-Drill: 85-95 de los Cantares. New York: New Directions, 1957.
  • Ezra Pound. Thrones: 96-109 de los Cantares. New York: New Directions, 1959.
  • Ezra Pound. Drafts & Fragments of Cantos CX-CVIII. New York: New Directions, 1968.
  • The Cantos of Ezra Pound: Some Testimonies. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1933.
    Contributions by Edmund Wilson, William Carlos Williams, Allen Tate, James Joyce, Ford Madox Ford, T.S. Eliot, H.D., John Peale Bishop, and Basil Bunting.