Letter To Anne, Postcard Twelve

Day: Tuesday Night, Night 12
Food: Two Large Spaghetti Balls, Spaghetti, Potato Salad, Roll With Butter, Salad, Two Chocolate Chip Cookies
Weather: Sunny and nice.
Bunk Stay: Slept well.

Letter:

I’ve slept in the last few mornings, until 7:30 a.m. I usually wake up at 6:00 o’clock, and leave. Since today is Wednesday, they have the clothing hamper tomorrow at the First Presbyterian Church, and I might go. I have two raincoats, but nothing for winter.

Are you serious about working this summer — because I think it’s an excellent plan. The only thing is that anything that would satisfy you might be too expensive for me. And then it is difficult to find a place that will work with your morning and evening schedule. I always want to be able to write you at the library.

April 5, 1934

I had a beautiful time in Boston. I feel as if I should write you a regular bread & butter letter, as to a host. You were so nice to do all the things with me and for me. It hasn’t rained here, since I moved here, but everyone persists in wearing their springs clothes.

The chimneys here, my exclusive view from one window, are shaped like a merry-go-round, and all winter long the birds come and sit in them to warm themselves. First they sit with their tails inside the chimneys, then they switch around and warm their heads.

I wrote Marianne Moore, and sent her some poems. It seems her mother is dangerously ill, and she can’t leave her this week. I wrote nothing but poetry for two days after that.

April 26, 1934

The most interesting thing I’ve done lately is take Marianne Moore to the circus. We went last Wednesday and had a perfectly beautiful time. She arrived carrying two bags or satchels. One of them contained two paper bags, full of stale graham crackers to feed to the elephants. They like it even better than peanuts.

Love,
Jane

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Posted in Anne, Postcard

Letter To Anne, Postcard Eleven

Day: Monday Night, Night 11
Food: Beef Colacci, Spaghetti with Marianara Sauce, Salad with Thousand Island Dressing, Bread and a Roll, Lemon Bar
Weather: Sunny and nice.
Bunk Stay: Slept well.

Letter:

I have nothing lively or new to send you. I should be interested to hear what you think of Auden — who is a subject of discussion here just now. Just now I am very proud because I recently acquired a wonderful edition of T.S. Eliot’s drafts of his poems. Very elegant, once selling for $36 and now remaindered at $12.

I found it in a bookshop across the street from the school. I should like to do nothing but sit all evening and copy off the sentences.

I found out last week to my great surprise that Frani is a friend of Marianne Moore’s. I started a sort of paper on Moore:

Interviewer: I wonder if the act of translating La Fontaine’s Fables helped you as a writer:

Moore: Indeed it did. It was the best help I’ve ever had. I suffered frustration. I’m so naive, so docile, and I tend to take anybody’s word for anything the person says, even in matters of art. The publisher who had commissioned the Fables died. I had no publisher. Well, I struggled on for a time and it didn’t go very well. I thought, well I’ll ask if they don’t want to terminate the contract. Then I’ll offer it elsewhere. I thought Macmillan, who took such an interest in me, would like it. And the editor there in charge of translations said, “Well, I studied French at Cornell, took a degree in French. I love French, and–well, I think I would put it away for a while, about ten years. And besides, it will hurt your own work. You won’t be able to write yourself.”

They say Marianne Moore has bright red hair and lives in Brooklyn and dedicates herself entirely to the care of her mother.

This weekend we’re going to the Gertrude Stein opera. I notice all the critics are beginning to have their doubts now — I suppose it’s getting too popular to be praised, but I want to hear the music.

I wish we could move to Boston and write a play together.  I better go now and eat a sandwich.

Love,
Jane

Posted in Anne, Postcard

Letter To Anne, Postcard Ten

Day: Sunday Night, Night 10
Food: Rice, Chicken with sauce, green beans, tuna salad, cottage cheese, chocolate cookie.
Weather: Sunny and nice.
Bunk Stay: Slept well.

Letter:

I’m a senior here taking what we mostly call “independent study” in English and in Greek. The nicest thing I’m doing, I guess, is a translation of Aristophanes’ “The Birds” into English verse.

As the old lady who superintends this believes that the ideal translation should be halfway between Gilbert and Sullivan an T.S. Eliot, and with nothing “cheap” in it.

I’m also writing a long paper called, “The Country Church” — partly because it gives me more of a chance to find out about Boston. Do you like it there? I heard you had lived there once.

The only comparison I can think of there is the fact that I have a melodeon in my room. I too am interested chiefly in the seventeenth century, although I know little about it except for some of the poets.

It is very strange the way you give the same feeling to a thought the way Donne does — a weird clearness — yet without the same directness, the same thing obliquely.

It was very nice of you to write that letter (which must have been very difficult) and to send me those things.

Love,
Jane

Posted in Anne, Postcard

Letter To Anne, Postcard Nine

Day: Saturday Night, Night 9
Food: Hamburger with Chili on a white bun, cream corn, roll, potato salad, salad, two chocolate chip cookies.
Weather: Sunny and nice.
Bunk Stay: Slept well.

Letter:

I am quite surprised to hear that you have been hearing a lot of poems “at rest” and “in action.” I thought it was my own unique way of putting it. The division is a very rough one, and far from an equal one.

The “at rest” sort occupying the entire history of the field of poetry. I make a point of it because I’m trying to tell you what I’m going to try to do. And I think if I have any talent at all, it is along these narrow lines.

What I mean about Shakespeare is that he gives that beautiful, slightly sad lilt to the sonnet form — the impressiveness of the first lines, and the importance of the final lines.

I hear that you are trying to publish in a real magazine, and I’ve kept my eye open. Mary said it was about people boring you because they were telling you their dreams, and that makes you feel pretty awful when I consider how many of mine I’ve made you listen to.

Sometimes I think you might write a funny article on the girl who kept hearing things, and insisting on asking you if you heard them too.

Love
Jane

Posted in Anne, Postcard

Letter To Anne, Postcard Eight

Day: Friday Night, Night Eight
Food: Steak and marianated vegetables, rice, salad, bread and butter, peanut butter muffin.
Weather: Sunny and nice.
Bunk Stay: Slept well.

Letter:

The other day I got for myself out of the attic a patchwork quilt, one that my great-grandmother made. It’s the Sunflower Pattern — big yellow sunflowers on a white background, and so many thousands of little white and blue stitches. It would be nice to sleep under it on a cold night. I’m sure it will be placed artistically on the wall in our living room.

Yesterday, I sat on a basketball court, and remembered the years I played tennis. I thought swimming would be part of my hip recovery program, but that hasn’t happened yet. I had my senior lifeguard swimming badge by the time I was 12 years old.

I keep remembering things I left behind in the life I left behind. Bathing suits and old towels and duffel bags were all a part of it. I had trouble getting down from the top bunk early this morning (about 6:30 a.m.) in our sleeping quarters. I had forgotten all you need to do is hang your legs in the air until the feet have feelers again. Years of swimming taught me that.

Methinks that Frani needs refreshing, so let us repair to the fairwell or closure. Taps — after fleeting shades of purple, blue, marigold, and burnt sienna having given way to deep, deep night blue. The sunsets are glorious.

Oh, and here is a sample of correspondence from Diana of the Crossways. (Just as I went to get the book, Judy called up — we’re going to be in the poorhouse with these long-distance calls. And it’s Saturday, not Friday, and she went to go to the movies with Peggy.)

I have no more time (space), it is my life I cry for. Love, Jane

[Hotel Lincolnshire
Boston, Massachusetts
August 9, 1932]

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Letter To Anne

I’ve been meaning to write to you everyday since your visit, because when you were here I don’t think I had time to thank you properly for the wealth of gifts you heaped upon me. And now that I’ve read all the poetry, I wish you could have stayed longer.

The first issue of the magazine came out, and I’m feeling pretty encouraged. There are a lot of mediocre stories, but there are some quite interesting stores and some great art work. Everyone thought the newspaper had died completely.

My friend Margaret came by today. It’s Sunday morning, and I’ve completely gorged myself on breakfast and read the Sunday paper. I want to go to New York soon to see her. We all had senior pictures taken last week.

How is Pittsburgh? I suppose you are practicing music all the time & writing book reviews, and tearing them up and writing more. I have written a couple of stories this past week that I liked.

Margaret and I are mutually inspiring each other to an exchange of arts. I lean more and more toward watercolors. I wish you were around. I keep expecting to see you in the English section at the library.

Love,
Jane

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Letter To Anne, Postcard Seven

Day: Thursday Night, Night Seven
Food: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Mixed Vegetables, Christmas Salad with Dressing and Tomatoes, Bread and Butter, Pumpkin Pie
Weather: Sunny and nice.
Bunk Stay: Slept well.

Letter:

To Eleanor Clark,

Poughkeepsie, New York
October 22, 1933

I’m awfully glad you wrote me & started me to wondering again. I’d rather go on with it than anything else I can think of doing at college. But as to the Magazine itself, I have a lot of doubts. Well, I’ll tell you what I think:

With your sister Mary & Frani gone [they graduated in June], I think we’d have a very hard time keeping the quality of the writing up to what it was. (Before I wrote that, I took another look at the [two issues] & I am amazed as usual to see just how good that quality was.)

I’m pretty sure we ought never to try to get “outside” contributions. The only people who could write or who were interested in writing were on the board & the college has practically no buried treasure.

I think what we did get out was just a happy combination of circumstances & people. We’d have a very hard time duplicating them. If we did duplicate, then it means a sort of one-ring circus trying to sell itself & over to the college — which (with the exception of, say, three people) is not interested.

If you think there’s anything to me making it outside the magazine, please let me know. Please call on me in the tower, won’t you, with all the news.

Love,
Jane

Posted in Anne, Postcard