Letters to Merle Brown from Jon Silkin and Lorna Tracey

Scope and Content

Letters from Jon Silkin to the teacher, critic, and founder of the Iowa Review, Merle Brown over a period of ten years from 1965 to 1978.

These letters offer an insight into the personal and professional relationship of Jon Silkin and Merle Brown. Brown, who described Silkin's The Peaceable Kingdom (1954) as 'the finest first volume of poetry written by a living English poet' contributed critical essays to Stand magazine during Silkin's editorship and continued to critique Silkin's poetry. In turn, Silkin sent drafts of poetry to Brown for comment and his poetry repeatedly appeared in the Iowa Review. These letters detail Silkin's rigorous responses to Brown's writing, and offer commentary on his own poetry and evolving style by Silkin, including corrections to proofs and one early draft of 'Brought up with Grass'.

Letters from Silkin to Brown also detail plans for readings in the U.S., and intersperse critical commentary with practical detail: advertising collaborations; books for review; financial matters between Stand and the Iowa Review. This correspondence includes three letters from Lorna Tracey, Silkin's partner and colleague at Stand, and these letters alongside Silkin's convey the business as well as the creative life of a poet and editor, including selling trips to promote stand and the magazine's increasing success.

Access Information

This collection is subject to various access conditions. Please see individual catalogue descriptions for further details on access.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to the University Library by Merle Brown's widow, Carolyn Brown in 2015.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection is in copyright. Photocopies or digital images can only be supplied by the Library for research or private study within the terms of copyright legislation. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain the copyright holder's permission to reproduce for any other purpose. Guidance is available on tracing copyright status and ownership.