Hartland, New Brunswick
It was good to get your letter. I don't see anyone here now and a letter such as yours is a happy event.
Not that I’m complaining about my isolation, it is pretty much a personal choice. Isn't it Toynbee who says that in the life of every great man, as in the history of every civilization, there is a period of withdrawal and retreat? This is my withdrawal and retreat. That sounds as though I were presuming to be a great man. It doesn't mean that, but I won't bother to go back and rewrite it, I get sick of rewriting things.
I was in Boston and New York, but I don't know if it did me much good,' In so short a time I couldn't see deeply enough into that life to write about it, but it gave me a cleaner perspective on the life here. I don't like cities.
they scare me. Of course, I'm ashamed of that fear and, in a couple of years, I'm going to force myself to live in some place like Montreal or Boston for as long as I can stand it. When I grow old and rich I'm going to retire to a mountain on the Nova Scotia coast. Like Robinson Jeffers.
I agree that I don't resemble Cogswell. Certainly, I've never consciously imitated him. We both write about New Brunswick but, after all, we both live here. And we both come from roughly the same sort of background, at least from the same Calvinist Angl0-Saxon-Celtic rural culture.
The chief influence on my early verse was Masters. Cogswell was influenced largely by Robinson. Now we are both of us developing. Our work is moving farther and farther apart.
I never tried to write like Masters, or like anyone.
But reading Masters and,admittedly, Cogswell taught me that poems could be written about the kind of life I had known.
My earliest poetry, written when I was sixteen or seventeen, was all about atomic bombs and the necessity for Socialism, all done in horrible free verse. But I've never stopped moving—my poetry is different from what it was even as late as a year ago. Poetically, I haven’t finished growing...l would say that it will take five or six years of
hard work to take me to my full potential.
I don't know if I'll ever do anything important in prose/
I guess the best thing is to concentrate on the work at hand and let the future take care of itself. "Take no thought for the morrow..." But you're prejudiced, you said, against religious references: Sometime I'll tell you about my upbringing in Calvin's Geneva, transplanted to Nova Scotia.
Do you think Ryerson
try to sell books?
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