Reproduction of the 1956 “Petition for the liberation of Ezra Pound” with signatures by the principle Italian poets and writers of the time. The petition was not signed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.
The undersigned Italian writers ardently appeal to the supreme political and judicial authorities of the United States for the restoration of liberty to their eminent colleague, Ezra Pound, for ten years now confined to a criminal insane asylum, where he recently passed his seventieth birthday. The undersigned, some of whom were outspoken anti-Fascists and suffered sentences at the hands of Fascism, though not entering into the political and legal merits of the question, express their conviction that Pound is “substantially” innocent of the accusations of high treason formulated against him in a time of struggle and kindle passions.
If one would see in his conduct during the years of the war a case of madness, then it may well be seen as a poetic madness, akin to that of Hölderlin, Nerval, of Dino Campana, a madness that in his case as distinct from theirs, tragically entangled him in a lamentable disproportionate adventure.
The undersigned, therefore, appeal to the enlightened comprehension and clemency of the American authorities for a benevolent re-examination of Pound’s case and withdrawal of the charges against this illustrious poet, whose cultural contribution to America and the entire world is so deserving of our gratitude; they express the hope that Pound, his liberty restored to him, may return to this Italy so loved by him, here to conclude his days in work-filled peace. Hoping this appeal would be supported by Mrs. Luce, the following sign:
G.B. Angioletti, Riccardo Bacchelli, Luigi Bartolini, Attilio Bertolucci, Carlo Betocchi, Piero Bigongiari, Giorgio Caproni, Raffaele Carrieri, Emilio Cecchi, Libero de Libero, Alfonso Gatto, Virgilio Giotti, Piero Jahier, Mario Luzi, Eugenio Montale, Alberto Moravia, Marino Moretti, Aldo Palazzeschi, Giovanni Papini, Alessandro Parronchi, Enrico Pea, Sandro Penna, Vasco Pratolini, Mario Praz, don Clemente Maria Rebora, Umberto Saba, Camillo Sbarbaro, Ignazio Silone, Leonardo Sinisgalli, Sergio Solmi, Giani Stuparich, Leone Traverso, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Diego Valeri, Cesare Zavattini.
Salvatore Quasimodo [I sign the petition, which I wish had been in the form of a strict plea for clemency and devoid of critical judgment about Ezra Pound’s probable innocence about a military or political offense], Vittorio Sereni [I adhere with the sole intention of obtaining freedom for Ezra Pound and his return to decent living conditions. I would like to make it very clear that being a poet does not exclude a responsibility; it does not constitute a privilege or a mitigating factor], Nicola Chiaromonte [I completely subscribe to the first paragraph of this request for leniency], Carlo Levi [I associate myself with the first paragraph of this request for leniency], Elio Vittorini [I subscribe, but only for the first paragraph, which is the essential one; I merely ask that Ezra Pound is forgiven on account of his old age, and not that he be found innocent. The fact that he is, as he certainly is, a great poet, cannot constitute “privilege” nor can it lead one to consider him an “irresponsible person” which would be “insulting” to the condition of poets in general].
Courtesy Fondazione Centro di studi storico-letterari Natalino Sapegno – onlus. Heartfelt thanks to Carlo Pulsoni.