Bliss Carman's Letters to Margaret Lawrence 1927-1929

Edited by D.M.R. Bentley

Assisted by Margaret Maciejewski

Letter 63


New Canaan, Connecticut

22. June. 1928



Dearest Margaret:


Praise be to Allah, you have not withdrawn the light of your spirit nor the lilt of your pen from this unworthy person! As witness your beloved letter of the 13th—much valued and blessed!

Me, up to the ears in poetry—Canadian, and happy to say nearing the end of the job.1 I want to finish as soon as may be, so as to have the summer free for preparing the winter’s lectures.2 Also maybe a poem to two.

I go to the mountains3 about the first of July. No, not to Toronto to turn in the stuff,4 unless it seems absolutely necessary for more material. Too expensive, the extra trip. Very poor. Don’t like it, but cannot grouch about it. Nothing unreasonable in the combination of poetry and poverty. Richer than a millionaire in some things.

And your letter! "I need some one to love me", says you!


My dear Gran:


I can hear you thumping on the floor with your cane in the Jalna home, and yelling "I want to be kissed, I want to be kissed! Somebody come and kiss me!"5 All right, Gran dear, here are tons of love and bushels of kisses. Now be good and you’ll be happy again. How otherwise in such a lovely-named place as Aldine House!!6


P.S. Have told Hathaway7 I am sure you would copy a few poems for the Anth. if he should think it necessary. Writing to him about several of the Guild, more or less unknown to me. Maybe you could run him to earth in his lair Canadian National Telegraph Office Lower Bay St. 11th floor, and have a chin with him. Do him good to look upon you anyhow.




Burned to an ash, Sitting in Judgement! Much prefer the Earnescliffe [sic] or the Victoria or the Wellington Arms as a place of session.8


Your loving grandson Willie Carman!

  1. The projected "Oxford Book of Canadian Verse" (see Letter 51 n.10). [back]

  2. See Letter 70 n.3. [back]

  3. The Catskills (see Letter 1 n.1). [back]

  4. In her letter of June 13, Lawrence assumes that Carman will be coming to Toronto to deliver the manuscript of the "Oxford Book of Canadian Verse." [back]

  5. Carman is casting Lawrence in the role of the grandmother in Mazo de la Roche’s Jalna (see Letter 34 n.10 and Letter 48 n.4). [back]

  6. Aldine House: the building on Bloor Street in Toronto that housed the premises of J.M. Dent and Sons, the British publishing firm for whom Lawrence was working in the summer of 1928. In her letter of June 13, she gives Aldine House as her mailing address. Carman may have been aware that Joseph Malaby Dent named both the Toronto and London headquarters of his firm after the Aldine Press of the fifteenth-century Venetian printer Aldo Manuzio, whose colophon of a dolphin encircling an anchor he also adopted for his books. [back]

  7. Rufus Hathaway (see Letter 62 n.4). [back]

  8. Carman is referring to three Toronto locations; for Ernescliffe, see Letter 36 n.5. [back]