Marianne Moore correspondence with Stephen Garmey
Scope and Contents
Chiefly letters written by Marianne Moore to Stephen Garmey. The collection also includes postcards that appear to have been collected by Garmey that relate to Moore, and a letter from Garmey to Moore appearing to include a poem written by Cecil Garmey. The collection spans 1957 to 1962.
Copied from dealer description: "MOORE, Marianne. 9 Autograph Letters Signed, 1 Typed Letter Signed, 2 Autograph Postcards Signed, 3 Autograph Note cards Signed, and an original signed typescript poem (“No better than ‘a withered daffodil’“) accompanied by a swatch of the green and violet French brocade that inspired the poem, 18 1/2 total pages, various formats, most on Moore’s 260 Cumberland Street stationery, Brooklyn, NY and Waterloo House, Hamilton Harbour, Bermuda, June 3, 1956-December 25, 1962, to author and collector Stephen Garmey. A nice group of letters by Moore to longtime vicar of Calvary Episcopal Church the Reverend Stephen Garmey, author of Gramercy Park: An Illustrated History of a New York Neighborhood (1984), translator of Rilke’s Duino Elegies (1972), and noted collector of books on early 20th century Russian architecture and design, chiefly about arranging meetings and engagements, acknowledging gifts exchanged, conveying books and impressions, and reporting incidents of travel and related matters. On November 19, 1956, Moore writes of a reading she is to give at the YMHA: “My reading! Be sure you really care to take the time for it. Bronice Stephan a Polish girl – who has a part in So Late the Phalarope is to read (from my work) and I am to comment. And we feel very unrehearsed – in fact most apprehensive! (This was an ingenuity on the part of the YMHA). I shall see if I can’t bear in mind what matters of the book, and see that you get something. We have selections made and do not intend to pad.” On the verso of her ANS of December 24, 1956 Moore notes five errata over five page of text of Like A Bulwark and asks Garmey, “In any book sent you prematurely could you make corrections for me? listed on the back of this card.” (All of Moore’s corrections were incorporated in the later British edition of Like a Bulwark). Moore’s ALS from late December 1957 reports of her reading: “I do no reading! but hope to have presently, Dr. T[illegible] translation of the Book of Job and commentary, and I am [underlined] reading The Diary of Helena Morgan [sic] translated by Elizabeth Bishop. I find it very novel. On December 14, 1958 Moore comments on Garmey’s literary work: “I like very much “Song II for Robert Herrick” and your Rilke translations are remarkable real and uninterfering, especially “Evening”. “‘And so you’re left, belonging nowhere really’”; “Remarkable, the force of a comparatively subordinate word like “‘really’”, used idiomatically. Of course, “The Prodigal Son” also, I like. (Like is not just the word). Such depth of experience and pain underlie it. I have been leading the life of a bedouin – perhaps someday shall take time to think – and not be merely a receiver [underlined].” In her January 18, 1960 ALS Moore mentions wanting to send Garmey a recent publication of hers: “Books as mementoes with my name in them, seem less formally acquired than I like them to be. At any rate, I meant when my Dragon booklet came out , September 17[O to Be a Dragon published in September 1959 by Viking], to send you one but obliterated by demands [underlined], I deferred offering one – feeling like Charles Lamb that “‘my book would be as safe at the Publisher’s as if chained to the shelves of Bodley’”. “Now I have had to beg one that was not a 2nd printing – though the second is exactly like the first with ‘literary essays’ repeated on the dust cover.” Regarding Garmey’s translation of Rilke on July 24, 1960 Moore writes, “How fine, that you have completed your translation of the Duino Elegies, a very delicate task; and I can understand the sadness in parting from some nice lines not sufficiently precise!” In the next letter in the group, June 6, 1961, Moore offers what may be a blurb for Garmey’s Rilke translation, “Reverent, scrupulous - keeping the mood and selectiveness of the original.”, and continues: “It has great sensibility, is faithful to the original – in fact at some points perhaps a little too careful to use the exact corresponding word? Will you pardon my writing suggestions on the text page itself? The marks can be erased; – I am like a stray; you will ignore me as necessary. You do not have to thank me; just do not curse me. I have various things to say but am going away for a few days – to Connecticut; my nephew is receiving a certificate for finishing law school in Hartford. Am delighted to at least try [underlined] to be of some use to you.” Moore’s manuscript P.S. reads, “I am a reckless consultant – have not even re-read my suggestions and there would be [illegible] modifications.” The original typescript of “No better than ‘a withered daffodil’”, in 4 stanzas of 3 lines each, is signed and dated by Moore March 23, 1958 and is accompanied by a piece of the green and violet French brocade that inspired the poem and is mentioned in its second stanza. This typescript differs in punctuation and wording from its first book publication in O to Be a Dragon (Viking, 1959). Included in the collection is a draft (?) of a 1957 single-page ALS by Garmey and 2 picture postcards. Folded from mailing, the letters and their original mailing envelopes are in fine condition."
- Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972 (Person)
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Collection is open for use.
Conditions Governing Use
Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.
Biographical / Historical
Marianne Craig Moore (November 15, 1887 – February 5, 1972) was an American Modernist poet, critic, translator, and editor. Her poetry is noted for formal innovation, precise diction, irony, and wit. Stephen Garmey was a friend a Moore's an a longtime vicar of Calvary Eposicopal Church. Garmey was also the author of Gramercy Park: An Illustrated History of a New York Neighborhood (1984).
0.19 Cubic Feet (1 letter half-size document box)
Language of Materials
Marianne Craig Moore (November 15, 1887 – February 5, 1972) was an American Modernist poet, critic, translator, and editor. Her poetry is noted for formal innovation, precise diction, irony, and wit. Stephen Garmley was a friend a Moore's an a longtime vicar of Calvary Eposicopal Church. Garley was also the author of Gramercy Park: An Illustrated History of a New York Neighborhood (1984). The collection spans 1957 to 1962 and chiefly is made up of letters written by Marianne Moore to Stephen Garmey. The collection also includes postcards that appear to have been collected by Garmey that relate to Moore, and a letter from Garmey to Moore appearing to include a poem written by Cecil Garmey.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased from James Jaffe Rare Books, October 2014.
Processed by Jordon Steele, April 2015.
- Marianne Moore correspondence with Stephen Garmey, 1956-1962
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Special Collections Repository
The Sheridan Libraries
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Baltimore MD 21218 USA