25. Feb. 1928
Your half-typed letter is here.1 I must answer at once if I am ever to keep even on this elegant and immortal correspondence. So many thanks for all your wise suggestions & offers of help in the new anthol.2 I shall need it. But I make my own choice from myself3 as well as from others. Who ever doesn’t like it can damn me and be damned. I have had enough of other peoples [sic] choice.
I amalmost tempted to make you my dragon. Anyone who even wants to be included will have to pass the flaming Margaret first, and then be considered by the old stuffed Poo-Bah4 [sic] himself! What?
Well, I wouldn’t expect Katharine5 to be rightly appreciative of you. Not up to it, old dear! (Meaningyou, old dear! and meaning her or she "not up to") "If you know what I mean!"
And I never meant she is an eminent poet nor even near great. I only meant the most modern and without affectation in her stuff. Of course no poet (or pote) ever includeshimself in any generalization, even when he is critical.
Consider—I am fed up on "poetry and style", both as taster and dabster. Hence I turn modern, butnot unintelligible! Also, consider that I am near despair at the mass of desperate rubbish in print under the guise of poetry. How much of Garvin’s book6 or Campbells’ Canadian Anthology7 would you really care to keep? Yes, how much could you stand to read again. How many (how few) of these contributors ever rise above doggerel?
The saddest disappointment was my dear Duncan.8 I loved his first volume, chiefly for one poem, years ago. And have loved him for it ever since. And now it was very disappointing to find so few notable poems added to the first burst of lyric genius. Of course it is easily explained in his case—a too-busy life. Now as I can hardly hope for a free hand in my own stuff nor in C.G.D.R.’s,9 owing to copyright. It is rather a wet blanket. However—I shall try to be in Toronto when my one noble Krishna10 transfers his hospitable petticoatorium back from the West to the one and only Queen City, the land of the free and the home of the chased. No doubt I shall need his protecting arm—to say nothing of yours! (In the plural[.])
Who else in Canadian poetry is distinctly modern beside the flashing Katharine? Constance,11 of course with her Indian stuff. None else. If there is, show it to me.
I feel as you do about collections, somewhat envious; but more amazed at the mizer’s instinct. I have nothing like a set of my own things, and often wish I had a copy of some old volume to give away, when it is out of print. Your lose [sic]-leaf12 plan is the only way. I have little hope of a collected or selected edition.
For God’s sake, don’t cry over old poems, darling child.13 It is all so long ago. Life seemed so sad then. The sorrows of youth, before the soul has grown enured to this faulty world. And now, when one should be duly toughened,—the very thought of loss of a friend is not to be endured! So here we are.
Hair? What a shame! A bunch bestowed on the barber only yesterday. But it ismuch nicer now, and younger!
I enclose a new sonnet.14 How about it?
Yours to the last ash,