In a message dated 11/6/2007 8:49:25 PM Central Standard Time, MRoth@MESSIAH.EDU writes:

MR: I trust you all will find that letter as humorous as I do. Especially the lament followed by the petition, a poet's prayer if I ever saw one. Anyway, this certainly proves that Ford did not send VN the book. Given that fact, combined with the fact that VN was in Europe and was a regular reader of the NYHT, we can only conclude that VN saw the poem in the newspaper, not in Ford's book, A Thicket of Sky. King, by the way, wrote back in August. In a completely unbelievable dodge, he told Ford that he had "not been able to get a copy of the book to see in what context your lines were used." But, he added, "I am interested in seeing them, and also in the fact that the author of Lolita reads our editorial page verse." Then he told Ford to take it up with VN's publisher. No word if he accepted the poems.
Matt Roth

Interesting material, which I'm glad to have. Ford was a "real" poet (no cornpone Ozarks versifier he), and I suspect that VN was torn between the quality of the line and the poet's name, which would have appealed to his sense of the absurd.  E. F. is one of the few poets of that generation ever mentioned by VN; his comments on Lowell, for example, are generally dismissive (worse when he considers Lowell as translator).  I have heard that he praised Richard Wilbur, but he rarely mentioned anyone else born after 1915.

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