Thursday, January 12, 2012

From Charles Olson, 7 February 1947

Morgans, my wonder children!
Here I sit cross-legged in bed (India), with my neck smeared with a stuff as black and oily as axle grease (America), and on the point of it all (the gland directly west of the cortex) an ice bag (Alaska), doped with penicillin (Cheese) and wrapped in my black and red check jacket (Dockton, Wash.)

Before all this it was sulfa: with which I ask you forgive us you did not hear earlier a big shout of thanks from Olsons Incorporated for pictures and pictures and pictures. What’s nice about it all is that you and us agree all the way thru that this OLSON is BEST, fur and all, but says publishers—spontaneous like—this ain’t no Eastman-Emingway affair, and there’s no need for you to prove your wirility and so, would like a nice, harmless, uninteresting, stupid and empty puss to fill a column. To which I sd: shit.

Charles Olson, 1946. Rosa Morgan photo
About publishers: would like to ask you a question. Just got contract for next book, which will sign, for it’s a $750 advance. But decided to dicker a bit on the  foreign rights. The contract calls for 75% to me on English as well as translation sale, and I’ve written back saying, not, that’s too much of a cut to them, I want it the same as movies, radio etc: 90%. What is your experience on this so far? What % do your contracts call for on such rights? 

Between us and you, this book has me pissless. It sold on the basis of an outline of tales, clearly, tho unstated, in prose. And what do you think has happened so far, every  time I put my hand to the material? It damn well bloody does turn in to werse! I’ll include one thing which may or may not be good, and may or may not have something to do with the book. 

Which reminds me, to hear anything about what YOU are up to along these lines, we have to hike ourselves to N.Y. and see one delightful fellow names Howard [Daniel] to learn a damned thing. He’s concerned you’re going to have to stay out of the state of Washington after the present mss, [The Viewless Winds] is finished. What’s yr plan? Gradually exclude yourself from each place you know? Patzcuaro [Day of the Dead], and now Wash. An “intriguing” idea.

Life is quiet. (I mean as well when I’m up as down). Harper’s Bazaar bot a pome. But otherwise the mail is mostly bills.

I don’t think I’ve made clear what excitement the pictures brought us. I should also make clear that my publisher, sir, is NOT Houghton Mifflin. Try again!

y&x  – the poems and drawings – is still being kicked around by the publisher’s failure to get the proper plates for the drawings. I’m pessimistic it’ll ever see the light.

Connie is spending her time these days, of course, trying to keep up with a sick man’s multiple needs. But she’s terrific, and wants me to tell you how exciting the picture flurry was, and how much she misses you, and loves you. We lie abed and dream about buying a Buick convertible and winging out to see you! She damn well ought soon to see that Great West of ours, I’m sure you agree. …

Yrs, 
Connie & Charles






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