Bliss Carman's Letters to Margaret Lawrence 1927-1929

Edited by D.M.R. Bentley

Assisted by Margaret Maciejewski



Letter 44

New Canaan, Connecticut

Near Christmas ‘27

 

 

Dear Margaret Shiela.

 

Ages and eons of silence and the insuperable performance of posting things, and the more terrible dread of forgetting someone, the fallability [sic] of lists and address books, the countless licking of stamps, and over all the thankgodfulness of having so many to send things to.

In New York yesterday I saw John Murray Gibbon.1 He spoke about you and will see you in Toronto. I wish I could have lunch today at Wellington Arms and REST. And smoke and talk.

The anthology2 is doing very well[.] Oxford Press is very pleased. I hope you like it[.] I have got off all my cards and books now except Texas, and will finish that to-day.

No news yet about California and the New Year.3 May be here[.] Wish I could do a smashing good poem on the Southwest.

Don’t forget to read Toronto papers on Christmas eve! Yesterday I was

 

Bliss Carman

 

Today I am anyone[:] Francois. Felipe. Megalcap.4 Very small and feble [sic][.] Cheer up and put the come hither in Murray Gibbon. Love

 

Your

 

C.


  1. See Letter 7 n.3. [back]

  2. The Oxford Book of American Verse (1927), edited by Carman. On Christmas Day, 1927, he told another correspondent that his anthology was "just out . . . after . . . [a] long wait" (Letters 355). Far from "doing well," it "was so widely criticized for omissions and inclusions as well as for bad copy-editing that [Carman] immediately began a revised version with the consent of the Oxford University Press" (Gundy in Letters 355). [back]

  3. Carman was hoping to visit California early in 1928 (see Letters 47, 56, and 78). [back]

  4. François, from François Villon (see Letters 36 n.5 and Letter 40) and Felipe from San Felipe (?) (see Letter 43). If, as seems very likely, Carman included his Christmas card with this letter, "Megalcap" ("Megal" meaning big) perhaps refers to the figure depicted on the card, an elderly and jovial man clutching a base fiddle and wearing a gray top-hat. The figure is labelled "Willie Carman." The card is inscribed "Margaret Lawrence thinks he is an old dear, and has just slipped a piece of mince pie in his pocket. He will now give her a few Victorian airs." The card is contained in the Lawrence bequest at Western. Its envelope is inscribed "Xmas 1927." See also Introduction x and Fig. 5 for Carman’s fondness for "wide-brimmed hat[s]." [back]

Fig. 5: Carman in c. 1927.