47 Glencairn Ave
Thursday [5 Nov. 1953]
This is just a little note to tell you about Roy Campbell, the famous S. African poet now living in Portugal. I have always been a great admirer of his work and I was asked to go down to Montreal to act as his Chairman Monday night. Then last night I was again his Chairman in Toronto at St Mike's. He was wonderful, talking about his experiences deep-sea diver, octopus-killer (with his bare hands), bull-fighter in Spain and a marvelous writer of verse. As I had to make my introduction brief I typed it out and am sending it along. Will you return it later?
Hoping you are finding the new quarters comfortable.
sending it along
When I was in England in the early twenties I came across ... his Flaming Terrapin ... I read the book and found it a great aesthetic experience, well worth I thought a trip to England. The poem was so full of power, so charged with original metaphor and, I may say, an undercurrent of philosophy which never obtruded itself, that I could not wonder if the young man of about 20 years could keep up this pace in his later development. So I followed his career and I found his early promise amply justified. Book after book appeared and the pace was not only sustained but increased. I do not know where his Pegasus will go in the future but I have the conviction that it will soar out of sight. When I read his Flowering Rifle, it was like a high-voltage current going through me ... I read other of his works with the same excitement.(The script of Pratt's slightly different introduction delivered in Toronto is reprinted in EJP: PAA, pp. 285-7.)
Writing to Sutherland next day, Campbell commented: 'I had a wonderful time with Ned in the chair last night.'