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This article is taken from PN Review 14, Volume 6 Number 6, July - August 1980.

David Gascoyne

Rule: When writing about another writer, especially if you feel him/her to be close to you in any way, avoid starting off with the word "I". Very well. David Wright, to my great pleasure, in early February last year ('78), sent me a most touchingly inscribed copy of To the Gods the Shades, accompanied by a typically kind, over-deferent letter, starting: "It must be many years since we met-fifteen?", and a little further on: "You were the first real poet that I ever met-perhaps you remember the time, Oxford around 1942, when you were living there (in Wellington Square wasn't it) and I came to know you through Audrey Beecham and Honor Frost. I must have showed you my rubbish then; this is what came of it."

I remember those Oxford days quite clearly (I hasten to add that I myself was never an undergraduate at any university), and I particularly remember what he calls his "rubbish", and I am definite about recalling my immediate intuitive impression that I had made the acquaintance of someone who was a born poet. Other memories of Oxford at that time are also vivid with me, but to recount them would entail a certain amount of purely personal revelation and this is not a fragment of my autobiography. I remember meeting David Wright at a somewhat later date, when he had already begun to publish poetry and to attract the attention of the discerning, I think at a time when he ...


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