14 East 95th St.
March 25, 1950
Frank Doel, what are you DOING over there, you are not doing ANYthing, you are just sitting AROUND.
Where is Leigh Hunt? Where is the /Oxford Verse/? Where is the Vulgate and dear goofy John Henry, I thought they’d be such nice uplifting reading for Lent and NOTHING do you send me.
You leave me sitting here writing long margin notes in library books that don’t belong to me, some day they’ll find out I did it and take my library card away.
I have made arrangements with the Easter Bunny to bring you an egg, he will get over there and find you have died of Inertia.
I require a book of love poems with spring coming on. /No Keats or Shelly/, send me poets who can make love without slobbering - Wyatt or Jonson or somebody, use your own judgement. Just a nice book preferably small enough to stick in a slacks pocket and take to Central Park.
Well, don’t just sit there! Go find it! i swear I don’t know how that shop keeps going. (10)”
“The books arrived safely, the Stevenson is so fine it embarrasses my orange-crate bookshelves, I’m almost afraid to handle such soft vellum and heavy cream-coloured pages. Behind used to the dead-white paper and stiff cardboardy covers of American books, I never knew a book could be such a joy to the touch. (3)”
“One ought not to judge her: all children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb tall trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one.”
“It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.”
I do not want today. I do not want to engage in today. It is too hard to remember how to be while surrounded by tears.
“Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.”
“I have never lived anywhere but New York or New England, but there are times when I’m talking to you and I hit a Southern vowel, or a word gets caught in a Southern truncation, and I know it’s because I’m swimming in your cadences, that you permeate my very language.”