STEVENS, Wallace. Eleven typed letters signed ("Wallace Stevens") to his publisher Alfred A. Knopf (3) and William Cole, of Alfred A. Knopf Inc. and the National Book Award (8), Hartford, Conn., 27 November 1936-7 February 1955 and one typed letter signed to Philip Wittenberg, 31 December 1953. Together 13 pages, 4to, letterhead of the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company.
A SUPERB GROUP OF LETTERS FROM STEVENS TO HIS PUBLISHER. Writing to both Alfred Knopf and William Cole, Knopf's Publicity Director, Stevens apprises the firm of his work: "I am sending you a manuscript of a new volume of poems under separate cover today. This does not seem a very propitious time for the publishing of poetry, but that is something for you to decide" (2/2/42). The manuscript was presumably that of Parts of a World which Knopf published in 1942. On March 7, 1951, Stevens sends Knopf a new photograph of himself (not present) "to take the place of the terribly bad one that has circulated" and adds in a manuscript postscript, "Thanks to everyone from Knopf for their courtesy and kindness."
Later that year, Stevens writes to Cole, then in his role on the Planning Committee for the National Book Award, that "I shall be very glad to act as a judge for the Poetry Award this year. The truth is that I read very little poetry. Consequently, when you speak of sending a reminder list, it strikes me that if I am to do a good job I shall have to have a good deal more than that and, that being so, I might not be the right man for the job..." (8/31/51) Stevens was selected, for in his next letter he requests the books he'd like to read, noting that he "already [has] several of the others (he requests Richard Eberhart, Randell Jarrell and Robert Lowell, 10/30/51).
The letter of 8 February 1954 provides a blurb to be used in advertisement's for Knopf's publication of Randall Jarrell's Pictures from an Institution: "A most literate account of most literate people by a writer of power (both natural and acquired). No plot, no action, yet a delight of true understanding." In August on 1954, in response to a request to read at New York University, Stevens tells Cole: "I never did like to read in public, not only because of personal inhibitions, but because I never thought it was quite the right thing for me to do..."
In response to winning the National Book Award for the second time (in 1955 for his Collected Poems), Stevens writes Cole: "As you say, I seem to have got the hang of the National Book Award." His final letter to Cole forward a letter from TV-Time about the possibility of issuing a recording of Stevens; his reaction tells Cole: "I have no interest in this. Possibly this is a record of some part of the proceedings that took place before the main ceremony, or it may even be part of the main ceremony, If it is part of the main ceremony, I don't wonder that Faulkner spoke so that nobody could hear him," to which he ads in a manuscript postscript, "The possums of Yoknapatawpha County have taught him wisdom." The letter to Philip Wittenberg provides Stevens's detailed comments with regard to the formation of the Dylan Thomas Fund: "... the fund should not be remitted to and allowed to become part of an English fund..." A REMARKABLE ARCHIVE OF STEVENS MATERIAL. (12)