A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

6 letters found

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To Harriet MonroeSept. 15, 1912, from PittsburghChicago 

Appreciates her invitation to submit a poem or poems for Poetry, but does not have anything to send at present. Looks forward to seeing the first issue.   Willa Sibert Cather   [Stout #243]


To Zoë AkinsMay 4, [1918?]Huntington 

Interested in her new efforts in play production. Looking forward to seeing her piece [probably "Did It Really Happen?"] in Smart Set. What is she going to do with the Spoon River poet in her anthology? [The "anthology" was a series by Akins published from Feb. 19 to Aug. 13, 1915, in Reedy's Mirror, St. Louis. The series was to have been published in book form but was not until 1994, under the title In the Shadow of Parnassus: A Critical Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, edited by Catherine Parke.] He is beneath comment. P.S.: Sending some poems not in April Twilights. Novel finished and being set in type.  W. S. C.   [Stout #415]


To Edgar Lee MastersFeb. 9, [1919?]HRC 

Glad he likes "Grandmither." Seldom writes verse. Unfortunately, the poems Monroe included in her noted anthology [The New Poetry, 1917] were garbled. Sorry to have been without a telephone, so missed hearing from him when he was in town.   Willa Cather   [Stout #450]


To Alice Hunt Bartlett1925 pub. in part in Poetry Review of London, quoted in Bohlke

Does not regard herself as an "effective force in American poetry," as Bartlett said. Of her own poetry, believes "A Likeness," "A Silver Cup," "Going Home," and "Macon Prairie" are the best. The most popular is probably "Spanish Johnny."   [Stout #769]


To Alice Corbin HendersonNov. 8, 1927LincCity 

Gives permission to use "Spanish Johnny" but only as printed in April Twilights, not the garbled version in the anthology edited by Harriet Monroe. Is glad she likes Archbishop. Many people don't because they find it defies classification.   Willa Cather   [Stout #908]


To Professor HornbergerMay 1946 "DRAFT" is written across the top and the letter is unsigned; ; UNL-Rosowski Cather 

Will never allow Death Comes for the Archbishop to be in an anthology, as anthologies are ultimately shallow [Horberger published The Literature of the United States in 1946]. After speaking to many young people, is convinced that the college classroom is no place for modern books. When a man is in school, he ought to study the classics of the English canon. An energetic undergraduate will read current books for fun. When teaching school in Pittsburgh, was forced to use a set list of texts, which included Silas Marner, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Marmion, Quentin Durward, Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, Macbeth, and the poetry of Robert Burns. Some students are still in contact. Would Prof. Hornberger consider Silas Marner—a rewarding if unhurried book, good for modern students—worthy of an anthology? Does not know who selected the list and was given no options, but was expected to read them and test the students on them. This is the limit of what a high school English class can be. If one hundred students read a great writer, about two of them will be affected deeply, and the other ninety-eight will not be injured by it. When reading the classics, there needs to be no distasteful argument of a writer's worth. All anthologies make this kind of argument, except for Field-Marshal Wavell's [ Other Men's Flowers: An Anthology of Poetry ], whose notes are sometimes better than even the selected work. Except for the glut of Browning's work, his selections are perfect. He loves The Hound of Heaven and expresses that. He fears neither Rommel nor erudition. PS: Please send a list of pieces in Volume One to aid in thinking about Volume Two.