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This report is taken from PN Review 168, Volume 32 Number 4, March - April 2006.

From Poetry to Verse: The Making of Modern Poetry Harry Guest

In the first panel of this wonderful exhibition one sees the typed copy of Prufrock submitted to Harriet Monroe with a recommendation by Pound informing her that Eliot 'actually trained himself AND modernised himself ON HIS OWN'. Close by is a letter accompanying the very first poem Marianne Moore ever sent to a magazine. There are the negotiations between Harriet Monroe and Wallace Stevens in 1915 when - amazingly - he agreed to let her publish only four stanzas of Sunday Morning and in the following order: I, VIII, IV, V. Students who have the privilege of threading this fascinating corridor on their way to the superbly equipped seminar-room beyond can learn how even the eventually famous had to start somewhere - and, perhaps, ponder the rights of any editor to mess about with their work!

On 1 March 1918, Edna St Vincent Millay wrote appealingly to the editrix of Poetry: 'I am become very very thin and have taken to smoking Virginia cigarettes', signing it 'Wistfully yours' and adding a P.S. 'I am awfully broke. Would you mind paying a lot?' She'd presumably had to give up Turkish ones.

In 1955, e.e. cummmings insisted (wise man) on seeing 'many proofs'. LeRoi Jones was still LeRoi Jones in those days and John Ashbery was thrilled to hear an editor had accepted his poem Europe: 'it's the best news since the ...


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