August 27, 1952

Dear Mr Shapiro:

This note is by way of apology.

Quite a long time ago Lionel Monteith of Poetry Commonwealth invited Earle Birney (Canadian scholar and poet whose fine work you may know) to be the guest editor of a Canadian number. Birney asked me to submit a poem. I gave him a choice of one out of three. He chose 'Myth and Fact,' but later he informed me that Poetry Commonwealth was in straitened circumstances, and it was very doubtful that the Editor would bring out the number. The Little Magazines were folding up one after another.

The poems were not acknowledged by P.C. Now this morning through the mail the Spring number of 1951 arrives containing 'Myth and Fact.' As two years went by without any communication from the English Editor, I naturally assumed that the issue had gone the way of the numerous 'little' fellows. Birney was convinced of this and suggested that I would be free to place the poem elsewhere if I wished. In fact, Monteith says in his Editorial that with this issue P.C. closes up.

So now I am hurrying along this information to you in case you have decided on the publication of 'Myth and Fact.' If you have not, there is obviously no problem. You may have chosen 'The Unromantic Moon' which is more recent and free. If you have not done so, there is no difficulty either. I shall understand.

There are two or three other points. As P.C. has a very limited circulation, I am wondering if the non-acceptance of a prior publication, however small the output, is an inexorable rule. I own the copyright of 'Myth and Fact,' and since I am relieved of any obligation both by Birney's letter and by the fact that no payments are made to contributors, it is still available subject to the discretion of the Editors. I fear, however, that the rule holds.

Again, inasmuch as I have through the last two years been preoccupied with a long poem, my supply of short verses has been slim. Only 'Myth and Fact' and 'The Unromantic Moon' have satisfied me from my own private point of view.

I hope this has not caused you embarrassment. As I said in my previous letter, whatever decision you reach will be acceptable to me.

Yours sincerely,
E.J. Pratt


1951
'1951' is underlined twice.

decision
Shapiro chose 'The Unromantic Moon' for Poetry (June 1953).