Papers relating to 'Poets and painters' project

Scope and Content

Strachan was interested in the interaction between poetry and graphic art through the thirties and forties, and began producing his own 'rhyme sheets', encouraging his pupils to do the same; this passion was fed by his discovery of the livre d'artiste in 1945. In the late 1940s, he and poet Eve Herring proposed editing for publication an anthology of poems which reflected the response of poets to paintings; they hoped to include 40-60 poems - in English or translated into English, but with a bias in favour of modern poems and lesser known older ones - preceded by a preliminary essay and including some illustrations; it would include at least one poem by each editor. It was planned that the volume would be published by the Sylvan Press under the title Poets and painters, but publication did not ultimately take place.

The material was totally unsorted; many pages of Herring's letters had become separated and all enclosures were separated from the letters with which they might originally have been associated. The papers are now therefore arranged as follows:

  • /1 Bundle of letters to Strachan from Eve Herring, the bulk of which probably date from 1947-1949, but most are undated and some incomplete. These relate to the genesis of the project, the selection of poems for inclusion, practical matters such as length and structure, and the editors' dealings with Sylvan Press.
  • /2 Six letters from other individuals relating in some way to the anthology (1946-1947).
  • /3 Bundle of notes and typescript material, some of which was probably originally enclosed with letters but which has become separated. Includes Strachan's own rough notes, numerous different lists of proposed content for the anthology, synopses, and drafts of Strachan's introduction. Some of the material is fragmentary or incomplete.
  • /4 Bundle of cuttings from the Listener and the Tribune (1945-1948): published poems by contemporary poets which the editors considered for inclusion in the anthology.
  • /5 Bundle of transcripts (predominantly typescript but also including some handwritten transcripts) of numerous poems which were considered for inclusion by the editors.
  • /6 A copy of the New English Weekly, vol. xxxiv, no. 16 (27 Jan 1949), which includes an article by Eve Herring and was stored with the 'Poets and painters' material.