July 25, 1952
The letter from Shapiro was an invitation to submit a poem for an 'album' of verse celebrating the 40th anniversary of Poetry. Though he made no reference in his brief statement to N.R. or to your article, I feel sure that your interest in my work must have occasioned the invitation.
The poems for his album are, all of them, to be short, one page preferably and to be the result of individual solicitation. I looked over the very small batch I have on hand; had my doubts on some of them, but finally selected one which might satisfy the Editor.
Your review of the 'Spike' made fine reading and was characteristically honest. As I have frequently told you, your criticism, like your appreciation, has always been welcome and helpful. I realize that the climax, despite the sledge hammer, didn't have the punch of the Great Feud or the Titanic. Neither the hammer nor the lizard had the claw of the iceberg.
I am very grateful that you liked Sir John's reach for the whisky. In fact, when I read from the 'Spike,' I concentrate upon the conflict between the sedate and soporific Blake and the mercurial John A. It allows characterization of which I have made sparing use in the past.
I am also pleased that in your 'Spike' review you made that representative preface. I hope Shapiro prints it though he may demur at the length (certainly not the style). However, you have done me a great service in bringing my work to his attention. I can't thank you too much for that.
The double issue has met with a good deal of enthusiasm. Macmillans, particularly, are loud in praise of it. I trust that their ad becomes a permanent feature.