Pound and H.D., 1912–13

  • Charles Doyle


His new-found poverty restricted Aldington to a spartan regimen, non-smoking and largely non-alcoholic, with writing as chief preoccupation. Though the way of life appealed, he felt it would be dull if continued too long. He need not have worried, for he was soon involved in the round of literary parties, though he despised their snobbery and fashion-dominated loyalties. At the salon of Mrs Deighton Patmore, known at Brigit,1 (herself later to play an important part in Aldington’s life) he was introduced to Ezra Pound, a tall young American with reddish hair and neatly kept beard. At 26, seven years Aldington’s senior, Pound was already a name and for some time to come would be a ‘small but persistent volcano in the dim levels of London literary society’ (Life for Life’s Sake, hereafter LF, p. 105). Pound proved ‘great fun’. Though from the beginning Aldington observed a posturing side to him, he always remembered the Ezra of 1911–13 with affection and gratitude.


Reddish Hair Great Friend Autobiographical Note Morbid Sensitiveness Strong Emotional Bond 
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  1. 1.
    Patmore, Mrs Brigit (1882–1965), born Ethel Elizabeth Morrison-Scott. Married Deighton Patmore, grandson of the Victorian poet Coventry Patmore. A member of Ford Madox Ford’s circle at South Lodge. In 1928 she became Aldington’s companion and remained so for nine years. She wrote an account of this in My Friends When Young (London, 1968).Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    The literature on Imagism is by now copious. Useful starting-points are: Imagist Poetry, edited by Peter Jones (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1972);Google Scholar
  3. J. B. Harmer, Victory in Limbo: Imagism 1908–1917 (London, 1975).Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    The moment is referred to in many accounts of the period. Note Pound’s remark to Harriet Monroe, that ‘the whole affair was started, not very seriously, chiefly to get H.D.’s five poems a hearing’, Monroe A Poet’s Life (New York, 1938), p. 267. Pound locates the meeting at Church Walk, Kensington. In End to Torment (New York, 1979) p. 40, H.D. places the event in the British Museum tea-room. The founding of the movement and the finding of her name were different occasions, though it is possible that both occurred in the tea-room. Aldington suggests that Pound kept the name ‘Imagistes’ ‘in petto for the right occasion’, Life for Life’s Sake, p. 135. According to H.D.’s unpublished summary diary at Yale, the first time Pound introduced her nom de plume it was ‘H.D.Imagist’, but H.D.’s spelling was notably unreliable. Peter Jones, possibly following William Carlos William’s Autobiography, says that Doolittle was already calling herself H.D. when she arrived in London in 1911. Jones, Imagist Poetry, p. 16.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    H.D., ‘Asphodel’, unpublished typescript (1922), (Beinecke Library, Yale). Bk. II, p. 179; Janice S. Robinson, H.D. The Life of an American Poet (Boston, 1982) p. 42.Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    Author of numerous books on economics and international politics, Sir Norman Angell (1874–1967) is best known for The Great Illusion (1909), on the futility of modern war.Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    These very brief comments are from Angell’s autobiography, After All (London, 1951) pp. 165–6.Google Scholar
  8. 17.
    In ‘A Retrospect’, Pound mistakenly dates this publication a year earlier, in 1911. See Cyrena N. Pondrom, The Road from Paris: French Influence on English Poetry 1900–1920 (London, 1974) ch. I; seeGoogle Scholar
  9. Aldington, Collected Poems 1915–1923 (London, 1923) p. xi.Google Scholar
  10. 20.
    T. E. Hulme, Speculations (London, 1960) p. 132. First edition, 1924.Google Scholar
  11. 23.
    Noel Stock, The Life of Ezra Pound (London, 1974) p. 158.Google Scholar
  12. 25.
    This is the date given by Joy Grant, Harold Monro and the Poetry Bookshop (Berkeley, 1967) p. 62. The actual opening was on the first of the year. Robert Frost, who was at the opening party by chance, could not afterwards remember whether it was in January or December.Google Scholar
  13. 35.
    Jane Lidderdale and Mary Nicholson, Dear Miss Weaver (London, 1970) pp. 76–82, esp. p. 77; Dora Marsden to Harriet Weaver, 16 November 1913.Google Scholar
  14. 38.
    Fletcher to Amy Lowell, 7 September 1913 (Harvard), quoted from Charles Norman, Ezra Pound (New York, 1969) pp. 110–11. [The date of the letter is possibly incorrect, as Fletcher mentions that R.A. and H.D. are just married.]Google Scholar
  15. 43.
    See: Susan Stanford Friedman, Psyche Reborn: The Emergence of H.D. (Stanford, 1981);Google Scholar
  16. Janice S. Robinson, H.D.: The Life and Work of an American Poet (Boston, 1982);Google Scholar
  17. Barbara Guest, Herself Defined: The Poet H.D. and Her World (New York, 1984).Google Scholar
  18. 49.
    William Carlos Williams, Autobiography (New York, 1951) p. 52.Google Scholar

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© Charles Doyle 1989

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  • Charles Doyle

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