Item 27 - Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

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Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan


  • 4 June [1915] (Creation)

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The Gallows, Ryton, Dymock. - The Gallows, Ryton, Dymock. - Has not yet spoken to Wilfrid [Gibson], but will do as soon as he sees him. He 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.

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