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Autograph letter signed
1936 - FROST, Robert. Autograph letter signed. Miami, FL [postmark; i.e., Coconut Grove]: no publisher, February 3, 1936 [post mark]. Octavo (6-1/4 by 7 inches), two sheets of paper written on rectos and versos, four pages. $5800.Wonderful four-page autograph letter signed by Frost in which he gives frank advice to an aspiring poet on the paramount importance of ideas in poetry, and the necessity of "striking ideas right out of life" and finding a way to "sock" editors and publishers with these ideas rather than "merely rhyming." "This is a hard gospel," he writes. "Ideas, ideas". Ruthlessly demand them of yourself in your own work". Attack the editors with real poetic ideas and I'll bet you anything you will get published in ten years." He advises that publishing poems is a "rough job". be prepared to rough it."Though they never met, Frost and the recipient of this letter, aspiring poet and avid collector James P.J. Murphy, corresponded for nearly a quarter of a century. "Murphy was a shy man with a passion for literature and fine printing. He found both in Frost's books. The poet autographed Murphy's copies of his works""often after considerable delay""and sent him his special Christmas cards" (Burch, "Three Unpublished Letters of Robert Frost to James P.J. Murphy," in ANQ, 13:2, 35-40). Unpublished letters between the two show Frost giving the young poet sound advice on getting his poems published, and promising to get around to autographing copies of his works that Murphy had sent to him for that purpose.The autograph letter signed by Frost is undated, but the postmark of February 3 on the envelope and the post office stamp of Miami, FL, indicate that this letter was written while Frost was in Coconut Grove, a neighborhood of Miami (other correspondence with Murphy from this time period was written in Coconut Grove). The letter reads: "Dear Mr. Murphy: There isn't very much anyone can help you to in poetry. You learn to make metrical lines from reading metrical lines. Then from good models you learn to make poetic phrases. Anybody who has been successful in giving nicknames has made a beginning in poetic wording. Most of all you have to be a person of ideas""because each poem has to have at least one idea in it""and if you aren't yet a person of ideas you have to become one""you have to acquire the ability to get up ideas. Striking ideas right out of life are the most important part of it. Have them fresh and striking enough and no editor can keep you out of his magazine. This is a hard gospel. Ideas, ideas. Practice your eye on them in other peoples' work. Ruthlessly demand them of yourself in your own work. The danger with most rhymesters is they will think they are accomplishing something by merely rhyming. They don't find out their mistake till too late. Attack the editors with real poetic ideas and I'll bet you anything you will get published in ten years. There is no other road to go. Hump your mind and sock the editors with it. Maybe you are already a writer and all this is wasted on you. Well in that case try yourself on the editors. I might just say something friendly and polite about your poems. The editors are the constituted authorities. They are on their guard against poor and weak stuff. Their approval and disapproval counts. My good-natured thank you gets you nowhere. I know the editors are a human lot and make terrible mistakes (as so should we in their places) nevertheless they are what we have to break through. We are fooling ourselves if we think there is any way around them. Of course I include publishers with editors. There is no special kind of manuscript that appeals to them. Make it plain""that's all. Disinterestedly enclose a stamp for them to return it whether it deserves to be returned or not. You have a rough job ahead of you. Be prepared to rough it. Sincerely yours, Robert Frost." With accompanying envelope, addressed in Frost's hand.Fine condition. [Attributes: Signed Copy; Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: Bauman Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2016-11-25           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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