GEORGE ABBE - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 01/25/1958 CO-SIGNED BY: WITTER BYNNER - HFSID 76294
GEORGE ABBE and WITTER BYNNER. TLS: "George Abbe", 1p, 8½x11. West Springfield, Massachusetts, 1958 January 25. To fellow poet and novelist Witter Bynner. In full: "
Sale Price $414.00
GEORGE ABBE and WITTER BYNNER. TLS: "George Abbe", 1p, 8½x11. West Springfield, Massachusetts, 1958 January 25. To fellow poet and novelist Witter Bynner. In full: "It is profoundly satisfying to know that a poet of your wisdom and stature agrees with me about this matter of reducing the art to juvenile doggerel. I appreciate your sending the letters. Just the other night, I told a young writer who is planning to do 'the more popular kind of writing for a while,' in other words, pot-boiling, that he might never be able to get out of it again. My own life is one long fight to preserve absolute independence; I have taken an awful beating, but every word I have uttered has been my own, and I have been free of enchaining institutionalism and commercial authority. By the way, Dave Morton, who was my closest friend for my four years at Mt. Holyoke, spoke of you many a time with more deep admiration and love than almost anyone I knew him to refer to. My wife and I have remained very close to his wife, and we know the intricacies of that situation better, perhaps, than anybody living. Dave taught me boxing, and he was like an older brother to me; I recently attended his funeral service at the college in Amherst, and a moving experience it was. By the way, our Book Club for Poetry, which I helped establish, is brining out a collection of Dave's which we accepted before his death, and he was very pleased at the prospect; his last inquiry to me was about its appearance, and until his death I was told it was on his mind. We have a Harold Witt coming out now; then a Joseph Joel Keith, and then the Morton. Naturally, I have always respected and enjoyed your work. In April and May I am taking a lecture trip through the Midwest, Southwest, and California; I have a half dozen talks in Houston April 20-27; then I have to speak at San Diego College on May 1st; I wonder if you would be on my way west from Houston? We plan to take in the Grand Canyon. Maybe, if you're to be home, we could plan to swing your way. I'll have to consult a map. Cordially". At lower margin and on verso, Bynner has written a reply in pencil, likely to be typed by a secretary, as he has also annotated the letter in three places. Begins: "Dear George Abbe". In full: "Failing sight has seriously cut all my correspondence. But I might at least have acknowledged your good letter of nearly two years ago as I am (over) doing now. What you tell me of David Morton both saddens and gladdens me I am deeply fond of him, as I see that you are. Please give my greetings to his widow. I was not on your direct route in April, 1958, but hope that I did not lose a meeting with you [word crossed out] by not answering in time. If my California eye-specialist gives the signal when I consult him a fortnight hence, I shall then be off to my fine descrepit mansion in Chapala, Mexico. Then back here in early April - All best to you from Yours more faithfully than appeared". Bynner has not signed the lettter. Annotated by Bynner beneath Abbe's signature and above the beginning of his letter: "letter to colleges - send on to all Univ for [illegible]" (writing has been crossed out). At upper left margin, Bynner has written: "File after copying my letter for him". At upper right margin, Bynner has drawn an arrow to Abbe's address label and written: "a good poet and fellow". Connecticut-born writer GEORGE ABBE (1911-1989) published several novels, beginning with Voices in the Square (1938), and volumes of poetry. Abbe also taught English at several New England institutions and was a popular lecturer. We have found reference to Abbe giving a lecture entitled "The Poet as Novelist" at Smith College in 1958. American poet, author and scholar WITTER BYNNER (1881-1968) lived for many years in Sante Fe, New Mexico at what is now the Inn of the Turquoise Bear. A native of Brooklyn, Bynner graduated from Harvard in 1902, and he featured the school in his first book, An Ode to Harvard and Other Poems (1907). With another Harvard friend, Arthur Davison Ficke, Bynner attempted an elaborate literary hoax in 1916, establishing a fictitious "Spectrist" school of poetry based in Pittsburgh. That year, the "group" did publish a small volume of verse, Spectra, under the pen names of Emanuel Morgan (Bynner), Anne Knish (Ficke) and Angela Cypher (Marjorie Allen Sieffert, who completed the "movement"). In the aftermath of the "Spectra" affair, Bynner and Ficke traveled to Japan, and Bynner would also visit China, where he studied Chinese literature. Bynner would subsequently translate and publish a number of Chinese works, including The Jade Mountain (1929, with Kiang Kang-hu). Bynner, a friend of D.H. Lawrence, wrote about him in Journey With Genius (1951), and Bynner and his partner, Willard Johnson, are portrayed in Lawrence's The Plumed Serpent. Bynner's other works include Tiger (1913), The Little King (1914), Grenstone Poems (1917), A Canticle of Pan (1920), Indian Earth (1929), Take Away the Darkness (1947) and his last book, New Poems (1960). Lightly creased with folds, not at signature. Minor show through of writing. Fine condition.
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