La Livre: An Homage to Ezra Pound
Sep 15–Oct 31, 2023
La Livre: An Homage to Ezra Pound. Photos by Giorgia Palmisano.
La Livre: An Homage to Ezra Pound. Photos by Giorgia Palmisano.

Archivio Conz presents La Livre–An Homage to Ezra Pound. La Livre–An Homage to Ezra Pound is a project Francesco Conz began in 1986, which Archivio Conz has worked to complete. La Livre embodies seven workshops at Brunnenburg Castle where poet Ezra Pound, starting in 1958, spent much of the final part of his life. Artists such as Emmett Williams, Ilse Garnier, Gerhard Rühm, Eugen Gomringer, Bernard Heidsieck, Henri Chopin, Augusto and Haroldo de Campos, Shoachiro Takahashi, and many, many more who contributed vast cultural perspectives, were invited by Conz, Olga Rudge, and Pound’s daughter Mary de Rachewiltz, to participate in these workshops in reverence to the poet. La Livre–An Homage to Ezra Pound consists of 11 portfolios (I–XI), in an edition of 10. The whole edition contains 317 artworks and every single edition contains texts specially conceived for La Livre by Augusto de Campos, Eugen Gomringer, Wieland Schmied as well as new texts by Archivio Conz director Hubertus von Amelunxen and British writer Tom McCarthy.

„What’s needed is a run on the Pound, from both inside and outside of its house; Pound against Pound.“
–Tom McCarthy

Ezra Pound (1885–1972) was a major figure in contributions to avant-garde and Modernist poetry, developing important intellectual and aesthetic exchanges between the United States and Europe as an American expatriate eventually settling in Italy. Pound’s life work in poetry is perhaps best exemplified in his unfinished 800-page The Cantos, which remains a striking, transcultural Modernist epic, referencing Greek and Latin classics, Japanese Noh, Egyptian and Chinese classical poetry, Renaissance and Portuguese epics, comprising over 20 languages. Its mix of history, political philosophy, aesthetics, and what Pound coined the periplum––a perspective of one in the midst of a journey––influenced the work of many poets who would later experiment with the same poetic techniques. Pound aroused controversy because of his aesthetic views and later, because of his political views, namely his support for the Fascist government in Italy and for his antisemitic statements in his broadcast for Radio Rome between 1941 and 1944. He profoundly regretted and renounced these positions later in life. Ezra Pound was imprisoned by US forces in 1945, first in an open cage in Pisa, then, declared mentally unstable, incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital upon his return to the United States in 1945. During his confinement, the jury of the Bollingen Prize for Poetry turned their focus away from Pound’s political career in favor of his literary achievements, awarding him the prize in 1948 for the Pisan Cantos, as Pound had spent the greater part of the 20th century devoting himself to advancing the art of poetry. A petition signed by many writers worldwide, among them Ernest Hemingway, W.H. Auden, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Robert Frost and many more, to release Ezra Pound, brought him finally, after 12 years of prison, to freedom in 1958.