H.D.

Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) The following are excerpts from Thom Nickels's essay, "Hilda Doolittle built imagist movement" in Philadelphia Gay News, vol. 21, no. 9 (Dec. 20-26, 1996). "Born in 1886 in Bethlehem, Pa., to a father who was a University of Pennsylvania astronomy professor and a mother who was a pious Moravian, Doolittle at 15 was, according to poet William Carlos Williams, '...tall, blond, with a long jaw and gay blue eyes.'" ..."In 1901, at a Halloween party on the Penn campus, she met Ezra Pound, then a handsome, muscular undergraduate. Their relationship flourished during her two-year tenure at Bryn Mawr College, but Pound abruptly ended the romance. "Doolittle later followed Pound, first to New York, then to London, where she arranged to meet him on the steps of the British Museum to show him samples of her poetry. Pound admired the brevity and easy rhythm of her verse and helped launch her career as a poet." Pound is the person who named her H.D. "In the 1920s Doolittle met writer/filmmaker Winifred Ellerman, who used the pseudonym Bryher. As one of the richest women in England, Bryher supported Doolittle and provided her with a comfortable life so she could write. "According to Barbara Guest, author of Herself Defined: The Poet H.D. and Her World, their relationship was more of a business companionship: Bryher's love and commitment to Doolittle was the driving force behind a union that lasted 40 years." Not mentioned in Nickels's essay is H.D,'s autobiographical novel, Paint It Today (New York University Press), her most lesbian novel, written in the 1920s but first published in 1992. Spanning the years from H.D.'s childhood in Pennsylvania to the birth of her daughter in 1919, this turbulent love story focuses almost entirely on the young heroine's search for the "sister love" who would empower her spiritually, sexually, and creatively. (Plagiarized from the introduction by Cassandra Laity.)