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Rick,
    I believe I was the one who talked with you about this quote at the T. S. Eliot conference a couple years ago. I seemed to remember part of the quote, but not the source. I found my source just recently, Roger Kimball's book _Experiments Against Reality: The Fate of Culture in the Postmodern Age_ (Ivan R. Dee, 2000). In his chapter on Eliot, he includes a quote from Eliot regarding the fact that there are "only two ways in which a writer can become important" (Eliot's words):
"to write a great deal, and have his writings appear everywhere, or to write very little. It is a question of temperament. I write very little, and I should not become more powerful by increasing my output. My reputation in London is built upon one small volume of verse, and is kept up by printing two or three more poems in a year. The only thing that matters is that these should be perfect in their kind, so that each should be an event" (78).
Kimball ascribes the quote to a letter to "a former teacher from Harvard in 1919." I wish I had my Letters at hand (I'm at work), but online, I found another article by Michael Levenson that references the letter on page 358 of the first volume. I'm sure the quote will be easy to find on that page.
 
Thanks for bringing this up again. I feel rotten for not getting back to you earlier about it. Hopefully the suspense has made us appreciate TSE's words all the more.
 
Cheers,
Will
 
PS -- By the way, how many on the list are planning to attend this year's conference in England? It was such a pleasure to meet Rick a couple years ago, and I would love to be able to talk with more of you in person.

>>> [log in to unmask] 12/29/03 01:34PM >>>
Rick and Ken

Several years ago one of the list members asked if anone knew where Eliot
had remarked that where others might write a large number of poems that he,
Eliot, wrote very few.

I have also seen this somewhere and thought it might be in Allen Tate's "T.
S. Eliot: The Man and His Work".  I have checked several time without seeing
it.  Do you remember seeing it?

BTW.  on page 79 of that book Bonamy Dobree includes a verse fragment of
TSE's where TSE writes about the man in White Spats who is one of the people
to whom "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" is dedicated to.

Rick Seddon
McIntosh, NM