Letter of the Week
Every week, on this page, we will show a different letter from a selection of letters from Paul O'Prey's books on Robert Graves correspondence In Broken Images and Between Moon and Moon.

Date: 26 AUG 1962

Recipient: Reeves, James (1909-1978)

Location: Canellun

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26 August 1962

Dearest James:

Thanks ever so much for the poems. I take 'A Kind of Love' personally: and am grateful for the last line. It's a lovely poem. They're all good Reeves, which is praise indeed.

The only criticism is that there is an echo from Graves's 'To Bring the Dead to Life' in 'It Would be Wrong'.

See as they see

Speak as they speak

which people will pick up unkindly not realizing how much you the rest of the poem is.

About Margot: such things are incommunicable and it's nice that you don't like some of those poems, because you're the only dissident voice of any consequence (except Alastair's, who tried to persuade her that she was having a bad effect on my poetry, and quoted you!) and this has removed the curse of general praise. Also, the whole course of the sequence is what matters: love begins with a blind innocence which has to be recorded. Anyhow: to be undignified is to lose one's self-respect, and forfeit one's family's respect. Neither of these things has happened and the whole family, from Beryl down to Tomas, are solid in their love of her . . .

. . . .

My grey hairs are inconsequential (though it is hard for people to see that) because this isn't a love-affair in the usual sense: so many strange, far-reaching events have already sprung from it. If I told you them in a brief news-summary you'd think me bonkers or put it down to coincidence: two of them are even world- headline-news politically. I know generally what it's all about, but can't predict particulars; all I mean is, don't worry about my dignity. All's well; we don't disagree really, you and I.

— I love your 'Precept': perfect Reeves.

— I think that you should change the adverbial y of pointlessly because of the stronger narcissistically.

Thank goodness I'm not a demigod.

Amis: his vocation is writing cleanly and truthfully. Trying to keep clear of the Mess and racket. One has to swallow a peck of dirt, but he swallows as little as possible. _

Am getting my lectures ready: on poetic technique. One is on Vulgarity in technique.


Text Copyright © of Robert Graves Copyright Trust