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For the week of May 28 - June 3, 2003

Arts and Entertainment

Pound home remodeled as cultural center

Express Staff Writer

Renovation of the birthplace of poet Ezra Pound has been completed in preparation for renaming the 19th century home the Hailey Cultural Center

"We’re so proud of what we’ve done," said Polly Noe, a board member of the Ezra Pound Association.

The association will hold a grand opening of the Ezra Pound House on Sunday, June 1, from 4 to 5 p.m. The event will feature a tour of the house where the poet was born in 1885.

The house is located at the corner of Pine Street and 2nd Avenue in Old Hailey.

The Association has been working hard to create an authentic Victorian home both inside and outside. The president of the Association, Jennifer Wilson is "very determined. She has the energy and wherewithal to make it happen," Noe said.

Wilson has written a book on Pound’s father Homer, who owned the house in Hailey. It will be available in July.

The grand opening reception will feature writer-in residence Rigoberto Gonzălez, a reading by association board member Gary Hunt of Iconcolast Books, and a talk on Pound by another Board member, Ted Dyer. Dyer is well known for his Hemingway talks. Heningway was a friend and protégé of Pounds.

The poet Gonzălez is co-sponsored by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Ketchum. His June tenure is part of the Center’s Dos Culturas program.

For musical entertainment at the grand opening, Ketchum resident and songbird Katherine Edison will sing an Italian piece. R.L. Rowsey will tinkle tunes on the Steinway piano, which Noe donated to the Ezra Pound Association. Bruce Innes and Cheryl Morrell will provide music as well.

There will be hors d’oeurves from 4 to 4:30 p.m. Refreshments are being donated from businesses in Hailey and the Hailey Chamber of Commerce, with the help of Executive Director Natalie Turner.

In 1993, the poet Allen Ginsberg visited Pound's birthplace and expressed his concern that the house be preserved as a reminder of Pound's creative legacy. Two years later, the Ezra Pound Association was formed to further this goal. The late Hailey journalist Roberta McKercher, whose family had owned the house since the 1930s, still lived there.

With the help of a sizeable donation from Wilson, the Association acquired the property in February 1998.

The Association intends for the birthplace to be a center for creativity and cultural study. It will sponsor poetry readings, lectures, concerts, dance performances, art exhibitions, and the Association’s newsletter, "The Pounder."

Many of these projects have involved young writers and artists from local high schools. The Association also will rent the house to other organizations for events.

In July, the 20th International Ezra Pound Conference will take place in Sun Valley. It is the first time the conference has been held in the United States. Scholars and students from 10 different countries will attend the meeting to discuss Pound's life and work. American poets Robert Creeley and Lawrence Ferlinghetti will join them.

The conference is sponsored by the Ezra Pound Association of Hailey and by Idaho State University, and supported in part by the Idaho Humanities Council, a state-based program of the National Endowment of the Humanities.

For more information on the Association or the grand opening, contact Noe at 788-0080.



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