THE CAPTURED CROSS SECTION
PHIL FARMER:
     Redd, you last issue was wonderful, superb. I though the cover clever, your remarks on the Oz books pertinent and amusing, the "Fiction Fantasy" hilarious (especially the Winter and Willis books), and your ctiticism of Steinbeck's grievance against literates, alas, only too true. That is the main reason that I can't bring myself to read him any more, though I may really be missing something, there being other woderful things in his books. But I can't stand his sentimentalizing about whores in From Here to Eternity. Not that whores and bums aren't human, and some have great potentialities, and all are worth rehabilitating. It's the grossly unrealistic attitude towards them in novels that are supposed ot be realistic that I can't endure. Actually, the majority of whores are frigid, which means they are sexually neurotic, anesthetized, as much to be pitied and avoided as a goodly percentage of so-called respectable housewives and spinsters, unstable, rationalizing, rigid in their behavior, overly codified, afflicted with shame, etc. Hell, I'd better stop, or I'll be launching into a lecture again! # Robert Lowndes' article was excellent, mainly because he knows what he's talking about. All of us may read it and profit, writers, editors, and readers alike. His statement that encouragement from would-be writers from fans is a very delusory thing at best is true. Only a few fans have the perceptiveness to know what they're talking about, yet those few are very good. Problem: find a good critic. Actually, it's no problem. The genuine artist strives only to please himself. If he happens to please many others, too, so much the better, for him and them. This is a non-professional attitude, but the true artist is non-professional, as his is non-most-other-things. This does not keep him from being interested in money or in appreciation from others. But basically his attitude is go-to-hell. # It is too bad that after a such a superb job you should have slipped up on proofreading my poem "Black Squirrel on Cottonwood Limb's Tip." The error would not have mattered much in prise, but in poetry it meant a great deal. In the final stanza, first line, "we two" is printed "we too." It can't be helped, and I suppose it doesn't matter too much, as it is na unfortunate fact that almost nobody will puzzle over the meaning of the printed phrase but will proceed blithly on -- if indeed he has bothered to read it. Anyway, I'm not mad. I was upset for ten minutes, then laughed, and let it go. Which is why, probably, I shall never be a true poet. (New York)