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Frost, Robert Lee (1874-1963) poet
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Letter from Edward Thomas to R. C. Trevelyan

PE Thomas 4229, D. Co[mpan]y, Artists Rifles, Hut 14, Hare Hall Camp, Romford. - It was his own fault; was 'amusing to be invisible like that', but would have 'broken through' if he did not dislike crowds, even of friends, so much. Hopes they 'really are to meet in print' [in "An Annual of New Poetry"]. His chances of showing his own work to strangers are 'so very rare' that he will be sorry if the arrangement with Constables is over, but agrees that they should not 'give away [their] rights' to please the publishers; asks if there is nobody else who might like the book. Could not leave in time on Saturday to see Gordon [Bottomley?]; perhaps he might pass through London on Saturday next and see him then; if Gordon 'could stand that performance [of his play "King Lear's Wife" he could stand anything'; 'Lady [Maud] Tree should have died at the beginning, not at the end... The effort to hear her spoilt any other impression', and the daughter [Goneril, played by Viola Tree] 'was too conscious of her resemblance to Artemis'. Frost has 'mentioned the "Annual" lately'; he obviously wanted to contribute but perhaps has not been able to decide what to send; he has been 'very busy, too, with lecturing & his farm'. Thomas has reminded him, and is sure he will send Trevelyan something if he can.

Reviews of R. C. Trevelyan's "Collected Poems"

Newspaper cuttings, many sent to Trevelyan by Durrant's Press Cuttings agency, some by Longmans & Co (some duplicates). Reviews of "Volume I. Poems" from: the "Sunday Times" [by Desmond MacCarthy]; "Oxford Magazine" [also reviewing work by Lord Gorell, Louis MacNeice, and Thomas Thornely; later notice on this volume alone]; "Scotsman"; "Times Literary Supplement"; "Manchester Guardian" [by Basil de Sélincourt]; "New Statesman and Nation" [by Stephen Spender, also reviewing an edition of Dante's "Inferno" by John D. Sinclair; and "Guardian". Reviews of "Volume II. Plays" from: "The Library"; "Birmingham Post"; "Manchester Guardian"; "Glasgow Herald"; and "Scotsman" [also reviewing collected works of Housman and Frost]. Review of both volumes from the "Day".

Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

Yewbarrow, Grange over Sands. - Very glad to hear the "Annual [of New Poetry]" seems likely 'to be a going concern'; the suggested date makes it possible that Abercrombie may be able to write something, but he is going to Leeds to try and get munitions work which may 'hamper [his] fictive faculties'. Asks whether Bob has read Hume's "Treatise on Human Nature"; it is a 'great book' which he himself is in the middle of. The question of whether [Edward] Thomas will be included in the "Annual" remains: Abercrombie is seeing Gordon [Bottomley] this afternoon and will 'extract from him his definite opinion'; Abercrombie himself thinks that Thomas should be included, as his poems are certainly good enough, and he is apparently having difficulty getting them published elsewhere. Is also writing to Wilfrid [Gibson] to get his opinion; will tell him to send his own poems to Bob, and get [H. O.] Meredith and [Robert] Frost to send theirs too. Hopes [Henry?] Ainley will 'do his bit properly about Mrs Lear' [Gordon Bottomley's play "King Lear's Wife"]; appears he likes the play, but supposes he is 'water to rely on'.

Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

The Gallows, Ryton, Dymock. - Sure the scheme [for an "Annual of New Poetry"] is a good one; just hopes he will be able to take part in the first number. Glad Bob agrees with his suggestions; likewise he agrees with Bob's. Their feelings regarding [Walter] de la Mare seem to agree, but thinks they should invite him to contribute anyway. Would prefer himself not to be known as 'one of the inviters' and for Bob and Gordon [Bottomley] to be known as the 'scheme's promoters'. Would willingly approach [Ralph] Hodgson, [W. H.] Davies or [Robert] Frost if Bob wanted, as this would 'easily come in on the score of personal acquaintance'; however would not like [John] Drinkwater, for example to hear Lascelles had been 'organising a poetic periodical' to which he had not been invited, and would prefer him to see him as a contributor only. Bob 'know[s] what poets are'. Will not mention the scheme at all except in reply to someone raising the subject, or unless authorised by Bob, but since Drinkwater may hear of it could be 'disastrous to [their] friendship if he understood the affair as an opportunity seized by Wilfrid [Gibson]' and Lascelles to 'shed his company in poetry'. Thinks that they should see what [Thomas Sturge] Moore thinks about the proposed list of poets before approaching any of them; the scheme would be 'gravely weakened without him'. His proposal of Constables for publisher was 'entirely tentative', and some of the poets may object, but there is no reason why approaches should not be made; [Michael] Sadler is a 'person one could talk to'; it must be made clear that 'he is to bear all risks - even if we do not mean it'.

Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

The Gallows, Ryton, Dymock. - The Gallows, Ryton, Dymock. - Has not yet spoken to Wilfrid [Gibson], but will do as soon as he sees him. Himself thinks 'very well' of Bob's scheme [for the "Annual of New Poetry"]; they should not worry about competing with "Georgian Poetry" and "New Numbers". True that "Georgian Poetry" 'is not asleep but sleepeth', as he understands, but "New Numbers" is 'dead as nail in door'. Cannot hurt "Georgian Poetry", which has 'never pretended to any monopoly', covers a 'much wider poetic field' and has a 'more aristocratic circulation'. Furthermore the first number of the "Annual" is likely to come out first, and will offer "Georgian Poetry" an 'attractive quarry to pick from', since it is 'frankly [Eddie] Marsh's own personal anthology [emphasised] of modern poetry', while in the "Annual" they would be 'trying to put as many of our wares before the public' as possible; however, would be best to see if Marsh objects. Regarding 'Mrs Lear' [Gordon Bottomley's play "King Lear's Wife], Marsh always said that Gordon's offer to let him print it first as 'great generosity', but the offer was on the understanding that "Georgian Poetry" would be published at once; since this did not happen, surely the offer is also off. Has always thought 'Mrs Lear' should be published as soon as possible.

Makes some tentative suggestions. The more poets on the magazine the less profit per poet; the poets should be chosen carefully, then there should be 'no editorial censorship on actual poems', since it would be difficult to choose an editor and communal editorship would be 'the devil'; the only control over contributions should be in the matter of space, and it would be best for the publisher to do this - suggests Constables as they 'are anxious to publish modern verse', and 'young Michael Sadler is... very nice & intelligent'. List of poets to contribute more important than the publisher: so far, provisionally, they have Gordon [Bottomley], [Thomas Sturge] Moore, Wilfrid [Gibson], Bob and Lascelles. Would also suggest Ralph Hodgson, W. H. Davies and R[obert] Frost; does not think there are others 'worthy to stand in our company, except of course [W. B.] Yeats & [John] Masefield', who would probably not join in. Frost thinks Walter de la Mare the 'greatest of living poets'; he himself does not rate him so highly, but would be happy to include him as a contributor. The profits for each number should be divided amongst the contributors, 'irrespective of space occupied'. Would like to talk to Bob about the scheme, rather than merely communicating in writing. Will see Bottomley when he goes to Grange [over Sands], and meanwhile may be in London soon; will let Bob know if he is. Feels 'honoured' to have been brought in so early the scheme's existence, and thinks it might be a great success. Catherine [his wife] is doing 'very well': apart from 'local effects of the operation' [for breast cancer] she feels better than she has done for a while; he thinks she also looks better. The two elder boys [David and Michael] are at Grange, and they will join them soon with baby [Ralph]. Was 'delightful' to see Bessie the other day.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Edward Marsh

Very good news that there will be another "Georgian Poetry"; wishes it 'all possible success'. Eddie 'naturally' wants Gordon [Bottomley]'s play ["King Lear's Wife"], and even if it had not been promised Bob thinks it would be better printed in "Georgian Poets" where it will have a larger circulation than in his own "Annual [of New Poetry]"; thinks it should be 'printed as soon as possible and in under the most favourable circumstances'. Does not yet know what material there is for the annual; rather depends on Lascelles [Abercrombie], Wilfrid [Gibson] and [Robert] Frost; Bob hopes it will encourage Lascelles to write something new. Eddie was 'exceedingly kind in that matter concerning Gordon': Bob knows 'the help was really very much needed'. Gordon says he would like to write to [Edmund] Gosse, who 'seems to have been instrumental', but is worried in case it would not be thought right, and in case he should not know Gosse was involved. Asks Eddie to let him know if he thinks Gosse would like it; Gordon did not want to bother Eddie, so Bob said he would ask.

Letter from Robert Frost to R. C. Trevelyan

Franconia, N[ew] H[ampshire], U.S.A. - Lascelles [Abercrombie] asked him to send his contribution for the "Annual [of New Poetry]" directly to Trevelyan, since he himself was 'swallowing up somewhere in a munition factory and there was to be no more him to send them to'. Knows this sounds heartless, but he must 'speak heartlessly to speak at all': if he gives in too much to his 'sympathies' he fears they will 'snap the tugs and break away from the load they are pulling', which would be worse than not pulling at all - the load being 'my country and the indifference of it'. Much has happened since the night he and Trevelyan 'saw the moving pictures' near the Vienna Café [in London], but he does not think he has seen moving pictures again, the nearest he has come an invitation 'to read a poem between prayers and a.... Life of Christ [Sidney Olcott's "From the Manger to the Cross"?]' while the audience were getting into their seats. Sends best wishes for 'the country half my own'. Adds postscript asking whether any arrangements have been made for publishing the "Annual" in the U.S., and whether he could tell his own publisher about it if not.

Letter from Thomas Sturge Moore to R. C. Trevelyan

40 Well Walk, Hampstead, NW. - Is 'pleased and honoured' that Bob, [Gordon] Bottomley, [Lascelles] Abercrombie and [Wilfrid] Gibson want to include him in their scheme for a Poetry Annual; thinks such a publication is 'needed' and would be glad to contribute. However, does not understand some of the suggestions, and has 'doubts about the wisdom of others': thinks it would not be possible to have a 'non-poet editor' who can hold a poem over for the next year, as the same poem is unlikely to be available in two successive years; also asks if contributors would be restricted to publishing in the "Annual", as he thinks this would be impossible'. Thinks [Marsh's] "Georgian Poetry" did better than "New Numbers" as it was more catholic; would like the Annual to be 'even more so'. Thinks they should form a committee of between three and five poets to decide the price and size of the Annual on financial grounds then offer an equal number of pages to, say: [John] Masefield, [W. B.] Yeats, [Laurence] Binyon, Abercrombie, [W. H.] Davies, [Walter] de la Mare, [Ralph] Hodgson, Gibson, Bottomley, himself, Trevelyan, and another. For the next number, the committee should be the only ones with a right to a place. Any untaken pages should be offered to 'people like [Robert] Bridges and H.D. the best of the Imagists for opposite reasons'; discusses how extra pages should be allocated. Thinks it important to invite 'all well known men' like [Henry] Newbolt, Rudyard Kipling, [Thomas] Hardy and [Maurice] Hewlett, 'whatever one thinks of their work' though not every year; some would refuse but 'that is their fault'. Should also invite 'as many as possible from enemy cliques' and those who have been well reviewed. Profits should be shared out by page. The committee should not 'judge of merit', except in choice of contributors, which would 'insure much more variety and a wider circulation'. The book must not seem bulky, so recommends using the 'very beautiful thin papers' available now used for bibles and the classics. Would like to 'rule out [Robert] Frost from the first list as not being a British subject'; thinks he and other Americans could be allocated a few pages but 'never be on the committee'. Discusses possible role of the publisher.

Asks Bob if in March, April or May there is 'any quantity of fallen leaves under Olive trees', and what the correct adjective formed from 'Medusa' would be. Sends love to the Trevelyans. Offers in a postscript to take responsibility for the 'physical appearance' of the Annual for no payment. Twelve may be too large a number for the 'inner list' but well-known names outside their set should be included; Yeats would be 'safe' as he would never want much space; dividing profits by number of pages would give Abercrombie & Gibson and others 'with a tendancy to metrical diarrhea [sic]' a chance of getting as much money as by the other plan. Expects to be here on the 22nd and 23rd and will be glad to see Bob; cannot invite him to the house yet as the children are ill and they have 'servant troubles to boot'.

Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

Gosberton House, Nr. Spalding. - Abercrombie has been lecturing; he has received £100 from the Royal Literary Fund and has a new-found appreciation for "Carnegie and those jockeys". "New Numbers" is coming to an end, as Rupert [Brooke] is fighting (he has just returned from Antwerp), Wilfrid [Gibson] is making more money elsewhere, and he himself isn't writing poetry at the moment. Catherine is doing well after the birth of their third son [Ralph]. Asks if Bessie knows Van Dorn [Willem van Doorn] who has been staying with Wilfrid. Frost and his family are staying at "The Gallows". Asks if Julian knows the Great Northern's Atlantic engines.

Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

Stick figure hanging from a gallows (labelled 'The Kaiser') used instead of an address. - The Abercrombies are settled back at "The Gallows": the bicycles restored after some neglect by the Frosts, and a new 'domestic' appointed. Ironic comments about both this woman and her predecessor. David is delighted with the daffodils: contrast of his romanticism with his brother Mike's realism. The children's fond memories of time at the Trevelyans'. Very interested in the news of the professorship in Toronto, has written to Dickinson to say that if there is a decent salary he will apply. Sends 'a specimen of your Favourite Passion'. Apologises for the mistake with Trevelyan's "New Numbers"; the Gibsons sent them out. The Abercrombies have bought a gramophone.

Reviews of "An Annual of New Poetry, 1917"

Newspaper cuttings with reviews, most sent to Trevelyan by Durrant's Press Cuttings Agency' from: the "Times Literary Supplement"; "New Statesman"; "The Nation" and "Daily News" [two clippings glued to the same sheet], and a longer review from the "Nation"; "Observer; "Daily Chronicle"; "Keighley News"; "Westminster Gazette" [including an extended profile of Edward Thomas, recently killed at the front, whose poems appear in the "Annual" under the pseudonym Edward Eastaway]; "Southport Guardian"; "Yorkshire Observer"; "Bacup Chronicle"; "Englishwoman"; "Literary World"; "Poetry Review"; "Welsh Outlook"; "Manchester Guardian"; "Athenaeum"; "Expository Times" [poems by W. H. Davies, John Drinkwater, and W. W. Gibson]; "Glasgow Herald"; "Colour" [by W. Teignmouth Shore]; "British Australasian"; "Yorkshire Post"; "Cambridge Review" [two pieces]; "New Age".