23 West Island Drive,
Hanlan's Point,1         
Toronto, Ontario       
July 20, 1927            

Mr. A.J.M. Smith,
79 Chesterfield Avenue,
Westmount, Montreal

Dear Mr. Smith:

     I do not know which of us wrote to the other last, or whether that should be relevant at this point, but I would like say again that I find your poems the only ones by a new writer which interest me very much, and that I would be glad to know from time to time where I can see more of them. In fact some time when you are making a bibliography of your work you might send me a copy and I shall look up the back numbers of the Measure etc. I continue to use them in my article, Poems of the Month, in the New Outlook, the most recent of which appears July 20, and includes Testament from the McGill Fortnightly.2 I am also reprinting Bird from Canadian Forum.3 New poetry is regarded so curiously in Canada -- as a stunt diverting enough if you can do it, and in doubtful taste if you can't. I won't offer you any advice -- though it probably would be wronging you to think you would accept it anyway -- except to Keep On.

     Have you any more plans regarding Revision? It is unfortunate that our best writers should at least appear irreconcilable. But perhaps they don't think the thing could be done. Perhaps we should confine ourselves wholly to Les Jeunes. But then critical notice would be lacking. Morley Callaghan's friend Nathan Asch4 of N.Y. is in town for the summer. He is author of The Office5 and I have just read the English proofs of his second novel, Love in Chartres.6Very introspective, since he is Jewish, and the style is rather repetitious and straw-chopping. But Ford Madox Ford writes an introduction hailing him.7 … Literary people whose work one cares to read, are few here. Tom Murtha of this city has done a good story or two for The Midland.8

     If you chance to be down here this summer I should be glad to have you come over and see me. I am enjoying myself beside the lake and writing a novel.9 That is a form of gambling which I trust you haven't become addicted to yet.

Sincerely yours,                


[IV] TLS Thomas Fischer Rare Book Room, Univ. of Toronto Library also TL McMaster Collection and TS. copy by Imogen Givens


  1. where the Knisters spent the summer. (He had married Myrtle Gamble 18 June 1927. Smith was to marry Jeannie Dougall Robbins, a graduate of McGill University, on 15 August 1927.) [back]

  2. "Testament," McGill Fortnightly Review, 10 March 1927. p. 56. Rpt. in Canadian Poems of the Month: Of an Unusually High Level of Quality." in The New Outlook, 20 July 1927, p. 6. [back]

  3. "The Bird." The Measure, No. 62 (April 1926), p. 7. Also The Canadian Forum, June 1927, p. 271. Rpt. in "Canadian Poems of the Month: Selections from Authors East and West." The New Outlook, 21 Sept. 1927, pp. 14, 25. [back]

  4. Nathan Asch was the author of"The Country," in theAmerican Caravan, 1927, pp. 515-25; "In the City," New American Caravan, 1928, pp. 631-40. His work appeared in The Best Short Stories of 1926 and Yearbook of the American Short Story, edited by E.J. O'Brien, Boston: Small Maynard and Company, pp. 39-52. [back]

  5. The Office a novel was published in New York by Harcourt Brace and Company, 1925, 265 PP [back]

  6. Love in Chartres. (N.Y.: A & C Boni, 1927), 240 pp. The "English" proofs may refer to the fact that much of the author's early work was written in German. He was compared to Hemingway and Sherwood Anderson. The romance novel received mixed reviews in American newspapers. "L.B." of the Boston Transcript, 5 Nov. 1927, p. 3 wrote of its style, it "is forced and unreal, and his situations, few enough as they are, require more of definiteness." [back]

  7. (The English edition of Love in Chartres appeared Nov. 1927. ) Loue in Chartres, by Nathan Asch. (London: Robert Holden, 1927.) Intro. by Ford Madox Ford. pp. vii-xi. In a letter from Nathan Asch to Frank MacShane quoted by MacShane in "The Literary Career of Ford Madox Ford," D. Phil. Oxford 1955, p. 3. Asch expressed his gratitude to Ford:

         "I first knew Ford in Paris in 1924, and he published the first two stories that I wrote. He got me my first agent, he found publishers for me; when he liked people's work he really helped them."

         Ford published poetry in Des Imagistes. An Anthology. (N.Y.: Albert and Charles Boni, 1914), pp. 47-50 and The New Poetry. H. Monroe and A.C. Henderson eds. N.Y.: Macmillan, 1917, pp. 138-43.[back]

  8. "Susie and Pierce," a story by Thomas Murtha in The Mid land, Aug. 1926 was reprinted by Knister in Canadian Short Stories, pp. 145-57. [back]

  9. Knister planned "One Night", an early version of the novellete "Innocent Man" available in The First Day of Spring. White Narcissus would be published in September. [back]