Wednesday, August 15, 2012

from Charles Olson, 27 May 1947

Our western wonders:

Yr card today sure got me where it hurts. For I as well as you have been appalled at this unconscionable delay. And no good excuse. For I take it spring fever is not such. (Surely not where such fever shld have led us by bus to you people!). 

Or maybe it hasn’t been spring fever. I have a hunch it’s deeper, got something to do with redirection of work. For I came back from 2 weeks in nyark all fired up by an offer to do article for Harper’s bazaar at $250. So I ripped right ahead, and in two weeks had a 5000 word THING done, plus a BALLET! And plans for two more articles! Very very unlike Mr. Olson, as you know. And I guess it was too much, for the article bounced and with it not only the 250 but the figuring one will do on more such sales as well, the ballet bounced! And the final stuttering work on the two further articles which were to make a trilogy ground to a final stop a week ago.

The point of it all being, (April is a cruel month discounted at usurers’ rate) that it is verse I shld most properly be about and I was forcing myself with all this other business under the mistaken notion I could make some dough. In witness thereof do please see current WESTERN REVIEW for poem written before newyark and one I am most interest to hear both your response on. They only sent me 2 copies, or yd certainly have one from me – 2 copies and no check, alas.
“It is verse I shld most properly be about”

Perhaps all this money business sitting on my nights and days is due to our GRAND PLAN: Europe in the fall. With which we are full right now, and do most need your advice. For we—or rather, it was Connie’s brilliant idea—have hopes we may be able to combine trip we said we’d make to see you and Europe, both. For we are told there are boats to France from the west coast. Know anything about ‘em? The idea of a visit west  to you, then a long leisurely swing through the Pacific and the Indian, and the backdoor to Yourup is most engaging. We are probably as uneconomic as usual and the cost of such a route will prove prohibitive, but it’s what we’re working on at the moment.
Connie Olson, left, with Howard Lewis, Murray Morgan
and unknown someone. 1947

But in any case we’ll go. We have an invitation to Aix en Provence and another to a schloss in the Italian Tyrol: so, for a couple of months we’d have no rent problem. – I figure the gag that I’m going to be in France (and now maybe England) for the appearance of book ought to get us passports, no? – And jeezus, to shake our feet of this too, too familiar people of ours for a short breather of another air however  however, is good for the soul. 

We are such fools not to write you, for to have letters from you is one of our rare joys. In fact, despite our own omission, we both keep going to the box each day thinking, maybe there’ll be a letter from Rosa and Murray! And there it was today, and now the card is covered with four shades of green, two cerulean blues, and a loufly jonquil yellow, for it caught us right in the middle of converting the whole damn studio into a living space. The old bitch gone in the teeth from whom we rent went off to Europe and we took the plunge: have moved out to the studio bed and all, and have arranged it! And how we’ve arranged it! Mit what colors, you should never see! So, if we get out there, we’ll be in time to trim the Morgan’s new house.

Gooducks, that’s what I’ve had on my draw, that’s what’s taken so long.

So do, for god’s sake, excuse us, please, and write us back a long letter full of all you are up to, how work goes, what a wonderful place Washington is (make us drool), what of the books, and all the rest. – Judith [Daniel] was here Saturday and we had a Morgan session. She was busy as a president on her lecture bureau. Have you signed up yet?

Thanks for much things said via CMI: ads are deceptive, sales slow but already over what the smart boys figured. My own hope is that the edition exhausts itself by winter (3000), which will give me two advantages: 1, 500 bucks for Europe, and 2, not to find myself on some remainder shelfs.

Big event lately was second coming of the messiah, Father Eliot, whom I met in such a way as to justify these tentative lines: 

Pound in a penitentiary
Eliot in a parish house:
the end does not justify the means
(the lowdown according to the rhythm of things)
but, to put it Possum’s way,
a heresy is better than none
Meanwhile, in the crowd, sing-song the beggar cries
‘Orbs for the lamps of Eliot
orbs for the likes of Pound
orbs for
Pound for
In their beginning is their end

End of stanza 1st.

T.S. Eliot, 1950
T.S, the old arrow color adonis is aged mightily, looked most so when clerical at St Thomas Parish House, less so at Mellon next day when 900 come to hear him read the old things while Biddle, David Finley, and others who cut the coupons and the passerby, layed the laurel on:

The Archbishop and the ape-neck Chief
shall comfort their syllabic grief

But hoooH, Fasa!
Connie, I just see, is asleep. We’re worn out from this unseemly painting and arranging we’re doing, It’s now pushing midnight, and I must stop. But I was damned if I’d let slip another day. Take this as token it won’t happen again. For our hearts, darlings….

All love from both of us

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