The Paris Review

H.D. Notebook, Part 2

Headnote: Part 1 of this piece appeared here (on The Paris Review Daily), on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Mr. Madrid originally intended to publish part 2 in June, but lost track of time. You needn’t read part 1 to understand part 2. There is no part 3.

H.D.

❧ 1
Poetry readers who spend a lot of time in used bookstores will have seen some of H.D.’s novels from time to time. They stand out because their titles are unfamiliar, and because they are recently printed books. One does not find old-looking hardcovers.

Asphodel. What is that. HERmione. What is that. Majic Ring. The White Rose and the Red. Friends of modernism say: “Why have I never heard of these?”

Before my H.D. project, my assumption was that these books must have been previously judged unfit for publication on the grounds of their containing explicit scenes of girl love. Wrong. None of them have explicit scenes of any kind of love. The only hot-sex bit in any of the H.D. prose I’ve read actually was printed in her lifetime. Privately printed, but printed. It’s in her novella Nights, and it’s woefully hetero. (It’s her and that musician guy, father of her only kid.)

My next was private but whose poetry was invariably intended for the public. Most people are just the opposite, but that doesn’t matter, ’cuz she  intend to publish these novels and memoirs—the ones she finished anyway, with maybe like one exception. She sent ’em around or allowed Norman Pearson to send ’em around for her. They just never found takers.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Paris Review

The Paris Review6 min read
Poetry Rx: Forgive Me, Open Wounds
In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion, and our resident poets—Sarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartz—take turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This week, Sarah Kay is on the line. © Ellis Rosen Dear Poets,  I
The Paris Review4 min read
A Refusal To Defend Or Even Stick Up For The Art Of The Short Story
A silent rant in answer to a friend. Because why the fuck should I? Seriously, why the fuck should I? I should leave it right there but this is a rant, and isn’t the thing about rants that they lurch onward unnecessarily after what needed to be said
The Paris Review4 min read
Auden’s Grumpy Moon Landing Poem
Shortly after Apollo 11 put men on the moon and brought them safely back to earth, W. H. Auden, widely regarded as the greatest living English poet of the age, wrote a poem about it. It’s called “Moon Landing,” and from start to finish, it’s one long