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"Our 30 Year Old Friendship"
Letters from Louise Bogan to Mildred Weston
Mildred Weston

Eastern Washington University
1997 • 176 pp. 1 illus. 6 1/4 x 9 1/4"
Collected Letters / Poetry / Poetry - American

$21.95 Hardcover, 978-0-910055-39-0

Letters between Louise Bogan and Mildred Weston, and poems by Mildred Weston.

This very special book celebrates the works and days of two significant women of letters, one from "back East," the other from the Inland Northwest. Both have birthdays in August: the centennial of Louise Bogan's birth is August 11, 1997; Mildred Weston celebrates her ninety-second birthday on August 3, 1997.

Poet and critic Louise Bogan lived at the epicenter of the nation's literary life for the three decades spanned by this collection of letters and postcards from New York, Seattle, Chicago and Arkansas, to her friend in Spokane, the poet and teacher, Mildred Weston.

Since Miss Weston's share of this correspondence is not available, the young poet Beth Oakes visited her at her home in the Spokane suburbs. From their conversations, which took place on many afternoons in the spring and summer of 1995, Ms. Oakes has distilled Miss Weston's commentary on what Louise Bogan refers to in her last letter, written shortly before her death, as "our 30 year old friendship."

Mildred Weston published her first poems in 1928. Even her earliest poems are replete with those characteristic lyric qualities of brevity, irony, and vivid imagery which have won her a lasting reputation among discerning readers of poetry.

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Reviews / Endorsements

"Mildred has a marvelous, delicate talent for expressing simple, everyday things that cross our lives, day in and day out, in a very imaginative and artful way."—Fr. Bernard J. Coughlin, S.J., President, Gonzaga University (1992)

"Women poets . . . from Sappho and Erinna to the present day, have often created poems in which elegant form and passionate content are entirely blended. However, in the second and third decades of this century a corrosive self-pity marred some of the effects of the Misses Wylie, Teasdale, and Millay. This could never be said of Miss [Leonie] Adams, who on the wings of her elegant metaphysic soared far out of reach of any mundane self-concern. Miss [Louise] Bogan was far too canny and sophisticated a practitioner to permit her undoubted sense of injury to creep into her verse. But these are voices that died or fell virtually silent thirty or more years ago. What of the present? I only know of Mary Barnard, brilliant translator of Sappho's fragments, and Mildred Weston.

Coming across Mildred Weston's poetry, as I did a quarter of a century ago when I was editing Poetry Northwest, is comparable to discovering a purportedly extinct species of butterfly on an idle walk in the woods. . . . Miss Weston's voice, to me, exemplified what was best in that tradition. . . .

The late critic, Irwin Ehrenpries, once remarked in The New York Review of Books that many poets today mistakenly believe that to write of chaos you must write chaotically. The lyric poet exemplifies the antithesis of this belief, and like Miss Weston, does indeed "hold chaos by the hand.""—Carolyn Kizer, from her Introduction to Miss Weston's Selected Poems, The Green Dusk, Owl Creek Press, 1987

"Mildred Weston's longevity has stamped her with all the hallmarks of a wise person who has learned to accept limits, regardless of personal cost. In her poems this is reflected in the purity of structure and form, as well as the integrity of her emotional reticence. There is not a trace in them of what her friend, Louise Bogan, called "ego-airing." One the contrary, most of her poems, especially the most recent ones on the vicissitudes of old age, exclude all preoccupation with self in tightly reined passages and deliberately subdued rhythms that check all noisy philosophizing and misanthropic moralizing."—Dr. Franz Schneider, Poet & Editor

MILDRED WESTON was born in 1905, in Waterville, in the Big Bend country of Washington State. She received her Master of Arts degree from Gonzaga in 1951. Miss Weston's poems have appeared in such publications of Stanford University's Pacific Spectator; the University of Nebraska's Prairie Schooner; the University of Washington's Poetry Northwest; and the University of Oregon's Northwest Review and The New York Times Book Review. She has published several books of poetry including The Green Dusk (1987), Individual Weather (1991), and Idiom (1994). Her research on Vachel Lindsay has made her one of the region's authorities on that poet, as exemplified in her biography Vachel Lindsay: Poet in Exile.

Our gratitude for the impeccable lyricism of her poetry is boundless; but when we tell her so, she demurs, and reminds us with her inimitable smile that few if any poets can boast of two places dedicated in their names—Mildred Weston Hall, the Faculty-Administration building at Fort Wright College (now Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute), and the Mildred Weston Studio in the new Art building of Gonzaga University.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:10:04 -0500