Letter to Charles Bowen

Letter to Charles Bowen (1967)Letter to Charles Bowen (1967)
Letter to Charles Bowen.
(April 8, 1967)

Bowen: "The bottom of the page is decorated with a face wearing a hat inscribed 'Lilliburlero Bowen A La.' Lilliburlero is an attractive Irish tune, whose nonsense-word chorus goes 'Lero, lero, lilliburlero; lilliburlero bullen a la.' John neatly substitutes 'Bowen' for 'bullen.' 'Happy childhood' I assume is not a reference to anything special, but a wish for the baby."


Congratulations on the bringfeorthnesse of your beorn. Ic be filld wid mildheortnesse. The steam harp was delightful too; do you know where I can get one? Seven lb 15 is rather GROSS, though. As Joe Duffy would say, schock-ing, Mr. Bow-en. I saw Joe and Frank’s names on a fullpage anti-Vietnam letter in NCR, along with that of my editor at Macmillan, Elizabeth Bartelme, so I added the august weight of my signature to the list. By the way, I enjoyed your letter, Charlie (one of the troubles about writing to two people is this crap about addressing one, the other, then tutti) about Garry Wills in NCR. You’re absolutely right; Wills is a third-rate mind.

Now (all together) for egotism news: Fidgeta is in its 3rd printing and Marilyn Fitschen and I have gotten a contract for a little picture and story fable titled The Pedant and the Shuffly. The villain is a nasty wizard named Snodrog, which you should recall as Gordon’s spelled backwards. Any further description would be tedious, but I think you’ll enjoy the thing. It probably won’t be published till fall. As of June I am leaving for England to spend a year living in some bucolic retreat and writing like hell. If my friend John Drew’s mother is amenable, my address will be The Vicarage Cottage, Farningham, Kent. Do you know where I can get some gaiters? My loneliness over there will be relieved a bit by a contingent of Shimer students at Oxford. They will be shepherded by a delightful convivialist, Harry Golding, who is now the head of the Natural Sciences area here. I would like to see a drinking bout between him, Wilcox, C. Bowen, and (blush) me. Wilcox once said that the only person he would never try to drink under the table is Charlie Bowen. He would have to add Golding, a tank of formidable powers. Joe Ryan is still drifting about the U. of C., as is Markwell. Markwell’s death car finally collapsed on the Ohio Turnpike on his way back from Tarentum. He got $3 for it. He is at present having fits of Protestant doubt over taking a 9-12 thousand job next fall (working for Ziegler’s outfit, I think). I hope I get out to Boston to see you on my way to NY to catch a steamer in June (I haven’t lined one up yet, but I want to get either the France or some Holland-America ship). I’ll write more later when I know more. Write too.

O’Donnell a bu and Tyler too.
Slan leat, says the citizen
Agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

John

[Handwritten:] P.S. Christopher Rhys Bowen is an insufferable name. He’ll have to be a literary critic.

 

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