Autograph letter signed from Anselm Hollo to David Sladen, dated July 1, 1965, with nine typescript copies of poems by Piero Heliczer enclosed.
Autograph letter signed from Anselm Hollo to David Sladen, dated July 1, 1965, with nine typescript copies of poems by Piero Heliczer enclosed.
Autograph letter signed from Anselm Hollo to David Sladen, dated July 1, 1965, with nine typescript copies of poems by Piero Heliczer enclosed.

44.

Autograph letter signed from Anselm Hollo to David Sladen, dated July 1, 1965, with nine typescript copies of poems by Piero Heliczer enclosed.

2pp., approx 290 words, with original mailing envelope. Hollo's letter concerns a projected volume of Heliczer's work, referred to as "the plan", and in it he writes that "the enclosed is all I've been able to unearth, so far - of copies of Piero's poems in my possession; I'm sure Tom Raworth has a great deal more - in fact, I've passed most of what Piero sent me over the years on to him…. " Heliczer recorded in his notebook that three of the titles included here were sent to Hollo on October 10, 1961.

The letter refers to a book manuscript (rejected by Mandarin Books) and returned to Heliczer in New York by Eric Mottram, with Hollo commenting that Heliczer "does deserve a 'real-book-sized' collection." He goes on to suggest that "When you make contact with Tom, & see what he has, maybe we can get together & discuss the selection - perhaps Mottram shd be in on it too, as he is very favourably disposed."

Nine typescripts are enclosed, presumed fair copies, some of them with Heliczer's name added in ink by Hollo, or other minor emendations, and most are unpublished. Of the four published texts only one, "Buckingham Palace", appeared in print prior to this letter. The other three are "The Death of Stephen Ward" (here with an extra footnote), which appeared in 'The Soap Opera' (1967); "Leadbelly" (a play), thought to have been published in 1988 (with possible textual variations, but not seen by this cataloguer); and the short prose piece, "The Sun Hurt Her Eyes", published in 'The Perfect Detective' in 1989.

The five unpublished typescripts are all poems: "Loves Punishments" (1pp.); "The Tree of Swords The Painted Sword" (1pp.); "Dream Hair Like Fresh Air" (1pp.); "Aubrey Beardsley" (2pp.); and "Coda to English Girls" (2pp.), this last title featuring an epigraph by William Burroughs (from 'The Soft Machine').

Piero Heliczer and Anselm Hollo both appeared in Tom Raworth's magazine, Outburst, in 1961, and Heliczer featured a poem by Hollo in Wednesday Paper (1962); 'The First Battle of the Marne', Heliczer's third collection, includes an afterword by him; and the Dead Language published his translation from the Kalevala in 1963. Three weeks before writing this letter, Hollo read at the International Poetry Incarnation at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The letter's recipient, David Sladen, co-founded New Departures magazine in Oxford with Michael Horovitz and Anna Lovell in 1959 while they were all still students, and put up most of the money for it. The first contribution in the first issue was a poem by Piero Heliczer. The closest Heliczer came to having a "real-book-sized collection" during his lifetime was 'The Soap Opera', published by the Trigram Press in 1967, and his first collected poetry, which gathered his previously published work and featured a foreword by Hollo, was published in 2001 by Granary Books, eight years after his death. The five previously unseen typescript poems here are fully composed, and hint at the substantial body of unpublished work by Heliczer.

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