* Note that the playback function may entail lengthy delays where the writer cogitated. We do try to jump to the point at which composing began, but there is the occasional writer who types a letter and then stops for five minutes. Hang in there.
We asked Jonathan Galassi to write on the following:
"New Directions was born one morning in Pound's study, when he was going over some of my poems, in the spring of 1935. He was crossing out most of my words. Finally, he said: 'Jas, you're never going to be any good as a poet. Why don't you take up something useful?' 'What would that be?' I asked him. 'What would be useful?' He thought for a moment and suggested, 'Why dontcher assessernate Henry Seidel Canby?' (Canby was the editor of The Saturday Review, who always gave Ezra's books bad reviews.) 'I'm not smart enough,' I told him. 'I wouldn't get away with it.'
He thought some more. 'You'd better become a publisher. You've got enough brains for that.'
He promised that if I could learn 'to print books right side up,' he would let me be is publisher and would persuade his friends to let me do some of theirs. And that's how it worked out. He gave me his book Kulchur, William Carlos Williams gave me his collection of poems A Glad Day, and Djuna Barnes allowed me to reprint Nightwood."
-- James Laughlin