Dear Editor: A History of Poetry in Letters

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W. W. Norton & Company, Oct 17, 2002 - Literary Criticism - 473 pages
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Poignant, hilarious, and brutally frank, Dear Editor reveals the personalities and untold stories behind the creation of modern poetry.

"The history of poetry and Poetry in America are almost interchangeable, certainly inseparable," A. R. Ammons wrote. Dear Editor, in gathering over 600 surprisingly candid letters to and from the editors of Poetry, traces the development of poetry in America: Ezra Pound's opinion of T. S. Eliot ("It is such a comfort to meet a man and not have to tell him to wash his face, wipe his feet") and of Robert Frost ("dull as ditch water...[but] set to be 'literchure' someday"); Edna St. Vincent Millay's pleas for an advance ("I am become very, very thin, and have taken to smoking Virginia tobacco"); Wallace Stevens on himself ("I have a pretty well-developed mean streak"). Here are the inside stories, the rivalries between aspiring authors, the inspirations behind classics, the practicalities (and politicking) of publishing. In fascinating anecdotes and literary gossip, scores of poets offer insights into the creative process and their reactions to historic events.

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Dear editor: a history of Poetry in letters: the first fifty years, 1912-1962

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Here is evidence that a book about, of all things, poets' wranglings with their editors can be smart, valuable, and engaging. Parisi and Young have compiled a remarkable group of letters, written ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Billy Collins was the Poet Laureate of the United States and the State of New York. He is a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College and a Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute. A Literary Lion of the New York Public Library and author of many collections of poetry, including Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds and Horoscopes for the Dead, he lives in Westchester, New York.

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