When it began, the patrician and strikingly handsome Laughlin, 6'6", twenty-eight years old, a champion and pioneering skier, intimate of Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein and heir to a Pittsburgh steel fortune, had been running the firm he founded while still at Harvard for seven years, and it was already beginning to make waves: his first publication, New Directions in Prose and Poetry (1936), included contributions from William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Elizabeth Bishop, Henry Miller, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, and E.E. Cummings. Williams, at thirty-one, had had some half-dozen plays produced by amateurs, with just one professional production, Battle of Angels, in Boston, a major flop that never came to New York. A compulsive scribbler since childhood, he had also written a number of stories and a great deal of verse. They met at Lincoln Kirstein’s apartment. “I saw off in an adjacent room this little man,” said Laughlin. “He was hunched over, wearing a sweater and dirty gray pants. And I said to myself, there’s someone who needs company.” And immediately they were off, talking about their favorite poets.
Sunday, October 21, 2018
… Tenn’s Best Friend | by Simon Callow | The New York Review of Books.