July 25, 1952

Dear Mr Shapiro:

I appreciate the honor of your request to submit a poem for your October issue. I am enclosing Myth and Fact but should you feel that the 'album' might be too heavily weighted on the serious side, The Unromantic Moon is offered as a substitute. Both are new poems and I think the best of the few short ones I have on hand. I hope they reach you before the deadline. You letter came via Montreal, which accounts for the delay.

I understand perfectly that there can be no guarantee of publication. Having done some editorial work in the past (not in Northern Review by the way), I realize the difficulty of acceptance. I can see the Missouri deluge threatening to swamp you already, and many otherwise presentable poems must be turned down through limitations of space and possible monotony of themes and structures in the general contents. So if you find the enclosed verses unavailable, do not add to your burden of correspondence by returning them. I have carbon copies.

May I say just here a word about the delight and stimulation your own poetry has given me for the last ten years. Nims and I spent many an hour reading it, and discussing it, and presenting it to our classes in the University of Toronto. When your Person Place & Thing came out, I found it fresh and original. Likewise your V-Letter. Later I read to my classes such poems as The Puritan and that deeply moving Mongolian. The latter still haunts me, partly I suppose, because before I joined the staff in English at Victoria College, I spent two or three years teaching Psychiatry and demonstrating in clinics. The Mongolian face was not more poignant than the face of the mother who brought the son to the clinic, vainly hoping that 'something might be done for him.' Your poem made the face actually visual.

Well, here's luck to your Issue – and may there be no moaning to worry you following the rejection slips.

Yours sincerely,
E.J. Pratt


October issue
A fortieth anniversary of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, of which Shapiro had been appointed editor in 1950.

substitute
'The Unromantic Moon' was published in Poetry (June 1953), p. 143. 'Myth and Fact' was not used. (See the letter to Shapiro, 27 August 1952.)

via Montreal
Having been sent a copy of the special Pratt issue of Northern Review by John Sutherland, Shapiro had addressed his letter to Pratt in care of Sutherland at his Montreal address.

Mongolian face
Until the 1960s, the term 'Mongoloid' or 'Mongolian' was used to decribe people with Down's syndrome. Although the term is now considered offensive, both Shapiro and Pratt were using accepted scientific terminology which originated in 1866 in a study by Dr John Langdon Down which likened the facial features common to the condition to those of Asian or 'Mongolian' peoples.