ALL-TIME AMERICAN WRITERS TOURNAMENT
WHILE antifa protesters raged outside the hall– upset at the inclusion of Ezra Pound in the Tournament– three of the latest selections held an impromptu Q & A with members of the local press. (Pound remained secure in his hotel room, sharing drinks and stories with old friend Ernest Hemingway.)
A few highlights:
John Steinbeck: “I thank the Tournament judges for finding me worthy of this honor. In my heart there may be some doubt that I deserve to be included over other men of letters whom I hold in respect– but there is no question of my pleasure in being included.”
Steinbeck gave a shout-out to Pound, noting that the poet might be used to being confined in tight places and would survive the experience.
William Faulkner related the oft-told anecdote about hunting with Clark Gable and Howard Hawks, when they were discussing books and Gable discovered Faulkner was a writer. Asked by Gable to recommend a few authors, Faulkner said, “Thomas Mann, Willa Cather, John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway, and myself.”
Faulkner was never much of a conversationalist, so having him repeat the story was a minor coup. He also answered a few questions, such as this one:
“Was the writer character played by Dick Powell in the classic film ‘The Bad and the Beautiful’ based on you?”
The highlight of the afternoon was Sylvia Plath reading one of her poems. It sounded something like this:
All-in-all, the press conference was a success.