DISCRETIONS by Mary de Rachewiltz
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DISCRETIONS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A remarkable memoir by the daughter of Ezra Pound in which she recalls with affectionate asperity her shifting identification with her father, his work and his strenuous, bizarre circumstances. Raised from infancy by a Tyrolean farm couple, Maria was eventually taken into the Italian household of Pound and her mother, the violinist Olga Rudge. Pound considered his child, quite obviously, as a tabula rasa, eager to accommodate the poet's exactions. In Sienna, ""we spent much time watching the ray of light that would hit the brass disk on the floor precisely at midday."" Somehow the spasmodic appearances of ""Babbo"" (her nickname for Pound), the cultural diversions and divisions in fascist Italy and the lovely Tyrol, were all ""knowable points."" ""I had come to hope that someday if I followed him closely, I might understand everything he said or wrote, all the references and shades of meaning . . . I felt sure he was enunciating eternal truths . . . ."" Maria also reviews the war years -- Pound's dedication to his messianic vision and his broadcasts, her closer ties with her austere mother and the abrupt disclosure of her illegitimacy. Then came Pound's imprisonment and incarceration in an American mental hospital. Maria's rage at his treatment equals her disdain for his sycophant American visitors at St. Elizabeth's (""sloppily sitting there gobbling up hard-boiled eggs""). ""He had not betrayed America. He tried to slop the war."" But then with Pound's release and his visit to her household, now including a husband and two children, the final phase is commented upon in a few lines: ""By now we had had enough of Greek tragedy. . . ."" Nonetheless this is a loving, indebted portrait of a father and a poet, who sought an equilibrium in a world ""cursed and blessed without aim.

Pub Date: June 17th, 1971
Publisher: Little, Brown--A.M.P.