Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Holm Mariaville, Nebraska.
Dear friends:

I have read the completed M. S. sent to me by the State director, and have made a number of minor corrections throughout. There is another that needs to be made, but I will leave it to you to do. It occurs on page 33 where you state that I set about learning Greek by way of getting a sense of the Greek mood for my Epic stuff. This should not be left. The study of Greek was undertaken with no thought of the Epic Cycle, but merely because I felt that the translations of the Greek tragic poets were either very bad or else the originals were overrated. Feeling sure the latter could not be true, I told my wife I was going to learn enough Greek to read the stuff myself, remarking that presumably this was the only world in which Greek could be learned; and since I was already 30 years old it did not seem too early to begin. The new version of the incident, as given here, should not appear on page 33, but somewhat earlier in the M. S. I think.

I note on page 38 you mention how Dr. House came to hear of my poetry. His first acquaintance with my poetry was through the "Poet's Town" when it appeared in the Forum Magazine. He liked it so much that he took the trouble to find out where the author lived, and he lived 30 miles away. After that Dr. made fairly regular trips

House, "Man and Poet" p 24?
to Bancroft, and we used to sit up most of the night taking the universe to pieces and putting it together again about three in the morning. No doubt we often left many of the screws out, but the thing continued to run anyway.

I am as sorry as I think you must be that the State manager saw fit to abridge your M. S., but that, I suppose, had to be. It seems a pity too that you were compelled to Nebraskaize as much as possible, as though there were actually any such things as state lines; and I should think that even Nebraska is only a part of a vast prairie land, the traditions of which are common to all portions of it. But don't feel that I'm seriously concerned about this. The world just has to be a little silly or it wouldn't be this world.

What matters most is the feeling of genuine gratitude I have toward you for your devotion to this task. If you were turned loose, there would be a different story. As for offering the larger version of the M. S. to Macmillans, I am sure nothing would come of doing so now. This should not be done until the cycle has appeared in a single volume, which should be in 1941 or 1942. I am much interested in your project for writing notes to the narratives, for I know that you will do a genuinely illuminating job.

The M. S. is being returned to the State manager.

With Kindest thoughts from Mona and me.
Your friend,

Jno. G. Neihardt
John. G. Neihardt.

I am making rather astonishing progress (for me) with "The Song of Jed Smith". For a long while now I have been doing from 10 to 30 lines daily - seldom as low as 10. The thing seems to exist in complete form somewhere, or rather it seems like yarn being pulled out of a basket. The stuff that comes out surprises me; and often I wonder why I should actually be writing with greater ease and with a very great deal more humor than ever before. I am really enjoying the story myself. It should be completed somewhere about the first frosts.