- Poets and Anthologies. To the Editor of the TLS
- The Johns Hopkins University Press and Faber & Faber Ltd
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388 ] Poets and Anthologies To the Editor of the TLS Times Literary Supplement, 1036 (24 Nov 1921) 771 Sir, – In your last issue I have read a review of an anthology of Modern American Poetry; from this review I gather that certain of my verses appear therein.1 I should be grateful to you if you would make public the fact that I had no knowledge that any of my verse was to be used in this way; that I was not consulted in the choice; and that, in short, the whole production is a surprise to me.2 Thisstatementinitselfmayinterestbutfewofyourreaders.ButIshould like to remark that I should have much preferred not being included in this anthology. On previous occasions, when compilers of such works have asked my consent, there have always been personal reasons for my willing compliance: here there would have been none. Some months ago I discussed the general question of anthologies with a poet (of a very different school and tradition from mine) whose name is much more widely known than mine is. We agreed that the work of any poet who has already published a book of verse is likely to be more damaged than aided by anthologies. I hope that other writers may be encouraged to express their opinions.3 I am, Sir, your obedient servant, Lausanne T. S. Eliot Notes 1. In “Young American Poets” (17 Nov 1921), Richard Aldington anonymously reviewed Louis Untermeyer’s Modern American Poetry (1921), the revised and enlarged edition of his Modern American Poetry: An Introduction (1919). The new edition included TSE’s “Morning at the Window,” the second stanza of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (ll. 15-22), and part I of “Preludes” (titled simply “Prelude” in the anthology). 2. On 25 Dec 1921, TSE wrote to Alfred A. Knopf, publisher of the American edition of Poems (1920), to inquire “whether this use of my verse had had your approval”: “I had assumed . . . that I should be informally, at least, notified when any of my verse was to be used” (L1 619). Two months later he asked Aldington how to join London’s Society of Authors “and whether they wd. do anything for me about the piracy in the Untermeyer book” (L1 637). [ 389 Poets and Anthologies 3. Robert Graves wrote to the editor on 1 Dec to “commend Mr. T. S. Eliot’s courageous letter”: “A poet’s capacities cannot in any sense be measured by one or two ‘anthology pieces’” (789). Among other replies was that of John Haines (15 Dec), who objected: “I bought Mr. T. S. Eliot’s Prufrock entirely on account of the poems from it contained in Catholic Anthology” (844). ...