Date of Publication:
Spring 1927 – Autumn 1928
Place(s) of Publication:
Dijon, France (Spring 1927)
Chicago (Autumn 1927, Spring 1928, Autumn 1928)
Frequency of Publication:
The initial print run of the first issue was 500 copies.
Maurice Darantière, Dijon, France (Spring 1927)
Pascal Covici, Inc., Chicago (Autumn 1927, Spring 1928)
Covici Friede, New York (Autumn 1928)
19 cm. Red-orange cover with black text; no cover illustration. 110-120 pages of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.
50 cents per issue
Libraries with Original Issues:
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Kent State University; Yale University; Columbia University; Michigan State University; Adelphi University; Hamilton College; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; University of Rhode Island; University of Nebraska, Lincoln; University of Texas; University of California, Santa Cruz; Stanford University; University of Delaware; University of Florida
New York: Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1967
Ezra Pound has long been considered a major player in the world of little magazines. From 1905 on he was published frequently and widely across little magazines and edited several, including Poetry, The Egoist, Blast, and The Little Review. He became well known for his domineering editorial style and his unwillingness to compromise with coeditors and contributors.
Pound’s motivation to start a little magazine came with the death of American poet and editor Ernest Walsh in October 1926. Walsh’s magazine, This Quarter, had provided a venue for publication for American expatriates writing in Europe; the community feared that Walsh’s death, and that of his magazine, would leave a void. Pound began to develop The Exile that same year, writing to his father that he was “having foolish ideas about starting a magazine” (Monk 430).
The Exile provided a place for Americans in Europe to publish their work: in its four issues, the magazine published both poetry and fiction by writers of varying degrees of recognition, including Ernest Hemingway, W.B. Yeats, and William Carlos Williams. The Exile is also known for its endorsement of the emerging Objectivist movement and the poets Louis Zukofski and Carl Rakosi.
The Exile is, however, first and foremost an organ for Pound’s personal and aesthetic philosophies. He wonders in the first issue “whether there is any mental activity” in the “colossal monkey house” that is America, and he calls Fascism and the Russian revolution “interesting phenomena,” reprinting news of the “Bolshevik atrocities” from the Chicago Tribune (88-92). Pound does, however, state his primary desire to “produc[e] something that will be enjoyable even after a successful revolution” and argues that art and artists exist above and beyond politics (90). The Exile is also notable for its complete exclusion of female contributors; Pound even instructed his American partner John Price not to “waste postage” sending him works by women, writing that “the whole of american publicationdom [sic] is submerged with females. Until a female invents something let us conduct this magazine by male effort” (Pound, qtd. in Monk 437).
Though The Exile was short-lived, it did, as Craig Monk aptly states, “illustrat[e] the ingenuity that coloured the creativity of modernism and the exclusivity that anticipated its limitations” (444).
In The Exile’s inaugural issue, Ezra Pound introduces his creation: “In 1917 [the year Pound became London editor of the Little Review], I presented a certain program of authors; in starting this new review I intend to present, or at least to examine the possibility of presenting an equally interesting line-up. If the job bores me I shall stop at the end of Vol. 1″ (88).
Pound’s initial ambivalence is somewhat disingenuous, and he goes on to explain his larger goals for Exile:
“At present, in that distressed country [America], it would seem that neither side ever answers the other: such ignoring, leading, in both cases, to ignorance. I should like to open a small forum in which the virtues or faults of either side might be mentioned without excessive animus.
Both Fascio and the Russian revolution are interesting phenomena; beyond which there is historic perspective. Herrin and Passaic are also phenomena, and indictments” (89).
Despite professing a surface interest in politics and current events, he clarifies that his true cause is art and the artist:
“As to our ‘joining revolutions’ etc. It is unlikely. The artist is concerned with producing something that will be enjoyable even after a successful revolution. So far as we know even the most violent bolchevik [sic] has never abolished electric light globes merely because they were invented under another regime. [. . .] The artist, the maker, is always too far ahead of any revolution, or reaction, or counter-revolution or counter-re-action for his vote to have any immediate result; and no party program ever contains enough of his program to give him the least satisfaction. The party that follows him wins; and the speed with which they set about it, is the measure of their practical capacity and intelligence. Blessed are they who pick the right artists and makers” (90-1).
“The Exile.” The Exile 1:1 (Spring 1927): 88-92.
Ezra Pound (Oct. 30, 1885 – Nov. 1, 1972)
Ezra Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho in 1885 and grew up in Pennsylvania (Moody 4). He studied at the University of Pennsylvania, where he met and began an affair with Hilda Doolittle, better known as the poet H.D. He transferred to, and eventually graduated from, Hamilton College in New York in 1905, and he returned to the University of Pennsylvania to complete his master’s in 1906 (14-18). In 1908 Pound moved to Europe and settled in London, where he found a home in the literary expat community, and began to publish his own poetry (68). In 1912 Pound and H.D. collaborated to launch the Imagist movement, which grew to include Richard Aldington, Amy Lowell, Marianne Moore, and others. Pound’s interest in Imagism gave way to Vorticism, which he promoted alongside his friend and Blast editor Wyndham Lewis (218). Pound continued to write his own poetry and develop a discerning aesthetic philosophy, publishing in and editing several little magazines in Europe, including Blast, Poetry, and the Little Review (226; 235; 280). In 1915 Pound began his Cantos, a work that would consume the rest of his writing career. He was devoted to discovering and publishing new poets and writers, including T.S. Eliot and James Joyce (307; Wilmer n.p.). In 1924 Pound moved to Rapallo, Italy, where he was inspired to create The Exile. He lived in Italy until 1945, when he was arrested for his Fascist sympathies and his opposition to the war. Pound was institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital to avoid a prison sentence, and he continued to write during his incarceration. Pound moved back to Italy after his release, where he died in 1972 (Wilmer n.p.).
“Natal Verses for the Birth of a New Review”
Ralph Cheever Dunning
“Poems From the Four Winds”
“Threnody in Sapphics”
“Or those synthetic states”
“Don’t Wake Me Up Yet”
“Truer Than Most Accounts”
“Les Cheveux dans les Yeux”
“My Five Husbands”
“Cloaks and Suits”
William Carlos Williams
“The Descent of Winter”
“Sailing to Byzantium”
“Blood and the Moon”
“Poem Beginnning ‘The’”
“Mr. Cummings and the Delectable Mountains”
Hoffman, Frederick J., Charles Allen, and Carolyn F. Ulrich. The Little Magazine: A History and a Bibliography. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947.
MacDonald, John W. “The Exile 3 Edited by Ezra Pound.” John W. MacDonald’s Weblog, 8 March 2005.
Monk, Craig. “The Price of Publishing Modernism: Ezra Pound and the Exile in America.” Canadian Review of American Studies 31.1 (2001): 429-446.
Moody, Anthony David. Ezra Pound: Poet: A Portrait of the Man and His Work, Volume I, The Young Genius 1885–1920. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
Page, Douglass D. The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound, 1907-1941. London: Faber and Faber, 1982.
Wilhelm, James J. Ezra Pound: The Tragic Years, 1925-1972. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994.
Wilmer, Clive. “Pound’s Life and Career,” The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. Rpt. in Modern American Poetry. ed. Cary Nelson and Bartholomew Brinkman. University of Illinois, 2000. n.p.
“The Exile” compiled by Abby Perkins (Class of ’13, Davidson College)