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#0151: Willa Cather to Zoë Akins, January 27, 1909

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EDITORIAL ROOMS My dear Miss Akins1:-

I was so glad to hear from you and delighted to hear about the funny negro family. What a rich sort of people they are in imagination, after all!

I am sending the verse back to you. None of it is adapted for magazine publication. The short one, "THE ROAD", is not quite up to the standard we try to follow, and the good ones are much too long. One of the long ones, "L'EMPIRE DE L'AMOUR"4, has real merit - feeling and melody. In some places it falls to a rather childish form of expression - the first five lines in Part II, for instance, but I think there is real poetic feeling in it.

I wonder whether you will ever settle down and do something with all your might and main, and whether it will be verse, or playwriting, or what? aAnd whether you will ever cease to coquette with the stage. Perhaps it will be better if you don't. Playwriting, if one has a gift that way and if one cares about the stage, must surely be a most delightful occupation as it is a most remunerative kind of work. About these things I know very little and can give you no suggestions. The older I grow the less interest I have in the theatre. I used to care a good deal about Miss Terry5 and was interested in Mr. Mansfield6. I still feel a good deal of interest in George Arliss7, but for the most part the work that is being done on the stage just now does not happen to be the sort that I can get any satisfaction from. I have a sort of feeling that your real gift lies toward playwriting; because some of the verses that you have sent me have, I think, fancy and melody in them.

Whatever your work may be I wish you every success in it. If you can once get away from "people",-the "interesting" followers of this art and that,-and get settled to the work itself, I shall look for something from you.

Faithfully always, Willa Sibert Cather Miss Zoe Akins, 4116 Westminister Place, St. Louis, Missouri8.