I have several clippings to send you when I hear from you again.

Dear Lucile:

I'm deeply sorry to hear about our dear little dog friend, Perky. The news of her death brought back something of the old empty feeling that can hurt worse than pain. I had been looking forward to seeing her again.

Dr. Kendrick of Cornell visited me lately and I heard from him that Bower will be visiting professor at Cornell the coming year! No doubt this is a step up for Bower, and I congratulate him heartily, but I would not trade Eugene for Ithaca, altho' I liked the latter and have been happy there.

I have great difficulty seeing what I write.
June 26

Things have been rather upset here lately. Enid broke a leg. Christian College discontinued its horsemanship program (which, incidentally,

was very successful, and ended with two fine shows.) Alice will hold forth at Skyrim, and the horses are being brought here. What horses! My! My!

Enid's leg is doing finely, and she is getting a good rest. She looks better (and more beautiful) that than she has looked for many years.

Your Poems article still perplexes me. The general tone seems tentative, hesitant hesitant,, doubting; and at the end I wonder if you believe in the Cycle. Surely the article leaves a sense of doubt and suspicion. I must believe this is a matter of mistaken judgement, not of intention. Why did you want to give renewed life to a spiteful attack of years and years ago, and introduce it into the minds of readers who, presumably, were hearing of the Cycle for the first time? I wish you had thought to add a brief sentence correcting the absurdly false statement. It is a matter of fact, not opinion.

There is so much of value in the Cycle for a critic to reveal, and is not that your job? Criticism is properly a search for value and a revelation thereof. If my work is so doubtful, why a book about me?

Please do tell me if you have the first volume of Chittenden. The Library has bound the other two volumes, and I need the first now. Please, if you have it —

I am happy to know that The Song of Jed Smith has taken on new meaning meaning for you. It is a very important vehicle for the expression of my attitude towards my cosmos and life in general.

I feel that, sooner or later, you will have some such experience with the other Songs. Especially I feel that The Messiah has much more for you to experience. In

In considering The Messiah, you should keep in mind the sentence from Fulop-Miller quoted on the title-page of the first edition. I profoundly believe in the emergent meaning of the Messiah; and I feel strongly that it has more concentrated beauty than any of the others. This is not a matter of relative merit, but of difference. For only one example, read again, and carefully, as though you had never read it before, the first four or five pages of the poem. Then read again the the absurd attack you quote. (For that matter, open at the book of 600 pages anywhere at random and read!)

I've often told you that every re-reading of the Cycle brings out more beauty and meaning. It is not really very surprising that this should be so. When I began writing it I had already lived more than most people, and I had been reading great literature since I was 12 years old,

not at random either
. I worked on the Cycle
on the Cycle, as you know, a whole generation, pouring into it the distilled essence of my experience (personal and vicarious) during the rich, growing, creative years. No one can get the result by a casual reading. It requires some growing, as you say. This is not because I am so profound; but because of the way the work grew. It is a matter of concentrated years against hours.

You know I believe in you, Lucile — and you are dear to this old man. You can and will do a fine job. Your job is simpler than you think now. It is a matter of telling people about the work. There are so very many who will thank you, "late or soon".

The same love


In addressing honest-to-god people, you need have no thought of our modernistic critics who support favor the incredible stuff now called poetry. In their state of consciousness, all my values automatically cancel out to zero. But think of the effect the work has on audiences and on students!!! It is rather overwhelming.

P. S.

Have you attached any significance to the inclusion of A Cycle among the "3000 best books from Homer to Hemingway" — 3000 books from 3000 years, 1050 B. C to 1950 A D.? The volume is entitled The World's Best Books, and is edited by Don Asa Dickinson, Librarian of the University of Pennsylvania. The snap-judgement on this title would be negative; but it would be wrong. No person or committee has presumed to name "the world's best books".! Instead, the choice results from a consensus of expert, authoritative opinion f from all sources over a period of at least 30 years. The books

thus chosen may cannot be "the best" in the (impossible) absolute sense; but the consensus over so long a period surely has meaning! No one of the authorities even knows, necessarily, that his choices were considered. It's wholly impersonal. All the accepted classics, ancient & modern, are in the list. Somebody — quite a few somebodies — held no no such doubtful view of the Cycle as that I've been considering.

I'm eager to see you. Please do see my point.

____ Air
[CO?]LUMBIA, MO. JUN30 [1?]PM [19?]64


Dr. Lucile Aly, 1138 22nd Ave., East, Eugene, Oregon.