Features April 2013
How beautiful upon the mountains
Unravelling the mysteries of war poet Anthony Hecht through his letters.
Poets can be a petty, vindictive lot. This was never true of Anthony Hecht (1923–2004), though he sometimes suffered the vindictiveness of others. In the 1960s he recommended Louis Simpson for a Guggenheim Fellowship. Simpson responded, tit for tat, by promising he would nominate Hecht for readings on University of California campuses. As it came to pass, Guggenheim smiled on Simpson, and that was the last Hecht heard of it—no invitation from the Golden State. Recalling these events in a letter to the English publisher Philip Hoy in 2000, Hecht was characteristically urbane: “And so, after the passing of years I was living alone...
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