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Tuesday 7 July

 

 

 

Had a good breakfast on the hotel terrace, crowning it with an unexpected wonderful double espresso. Sitting at "our" table with Viorica Patea and Alec Marsh, I found out that Ira Nadel, Giuliana Ferreccio and Stephen Wilson were also living in the Mair am Turm. These breakfasts together became one of the things to look forward to, every day. Just looking at the huge dark pink hydrangea next to our table and gently listening to the murmur of relaxed conversation gave me the feeling of really being on a holiday. I enjoyed the cool water with lemon and mint that Christine, the manager, prepared for us every morning; but let it hereby be known that it was “gallant Sir Ira” who discovered the boiled eggs!

The Tuesday was our day off – conference had not started, or so I thought.

rsz img 0102Siegfried de Rachewiltz (Sizzo) had invited us to a tour of Schloss Tirol. 10 o’clock! It was definitely too early for me, espresso or no espresso. I was suitably late, but still managed to catch the group in the castle cellar where Sizzo was showing people the oldest foundations of the building and explaining the historical circumstances that had marked its construction. I was impressed with how well informed he was and how professionally the castle had been turned into a museum – no expense had been spared to make this a modern, worthwhile experience. And our guide was a marvel – he knew all the old histories, deciphered all the architectural details and explained all the sculptural symbols: the centaur with his arch and arrow, the monkeys and the dragons. No wonder: he had been rsz portal kapthe Director of the Schloss Tirol Museum for many years – this modern museum experience was his life’s work.

We spent a wonderful morning at the Schloss Tirol, had lunch on a terrace, looking at the green mountains and valley. I then tried to prepare for the first event of the conference – a seminar on Canto 81 in the courtyard of the castle, a space which served for all official plenary meetings and important events. We all mused on the important passages in the canto, especially on the notion of scale (of invention and artistry) and sense of proportion – where one would find one’s place in the order of things. “Pull down thy vanity, I say pull down!” – was Pound remonstrating with himself or with the American army? An attentive view of the canto as a whole suggested to me the former alternative. When the seminar was over I had the distinct feeling I had been to church: thoughtful, chastened.

But then, we discovered that there was a new part of the castle designed to lead to deliberate frivolity! Mary’s grandson, Nik, had built an open-air informal garden where we could take our meals. A little discreet sign chalked on wood said “Hilaritas” and pointed the way. The garden was covered, so we didn’t have to worry about rain. It was time for the cook-out. I found myself at a table with Ira Nadel, Mark Byron, Anderson Araujo, and Barry Ahearn and had a marvellous time. Did I mention that the excellent wine wersz garden drank was from Nik’s own production? We delighted in his achievement and speculated at what a swell wine-garden this was going to be in the future for so many summers to come. There were also some wild rumours about Nik’s plans for bread baking: after the conference he was going to install an oven!

I could see that young people had naturally found to one another and had also gathered around a table: Orla Polten, Eloisa Bressan, Claudio Sansone, and Rhett Forman. Would you believe what they had in common, apart from an interest in Pound studies? A classicist background, particularly Greek! Did they find their presiding scholar? They did! Somehow, Peter Liebregts was never far away.