- [June 1915?]
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'.