Peggy Pond Church & Florence Hansen McCarty to Larry

Two women writers react to my sending them poems. First is the renowned Peggy Pond Church (1903-1986) in Santa Fe. I’d been sending her copies of duende magazine in the early 60’s . . .
house otawi bridge peggy p churchPeggy-Pond-Church
Peggy Pond Church, 1964 letter to Larry
peggy p church51SQ4502BHL._SX300_BO1,204,203,200_
What a fine letter with a big measure of absorbed truth. Her liking Creeley and Levertov convinced me she’s probably right. Is there a built in stricture of “communication” in the words that blew up in my face and became poems? Of course my wild daring-do is part of my nature and has been since reaching puberty in Roswell, New Mexico.

Now a letter from a part of the extended William and Luella McCarty family, true pioneers whose notable family origin was in Clyde, Kansas. Nine children including my grandmother. Florence McCarty was married to one of them and wrote stories and articles most of her life, and I’m the warmly appreciative possessor of her letters to my Grandma Goodell, Aunt Virginia and others in the family.

Florence McCarty articles 1990 and 1992

Two historical biographical books by Florence McCarty. The arrow on the right indicates where she lived in Creede, Colorado

From Florence McCarty, Writer, in Glendale, Arizona (married to my Grandmother Goodell’s brother Lorin McCarty)
July 7, 1988
Dear Larry & Lenore

Thanks for Seven Sonnets. I must admit it tries to introduce me to a kind of poetry I do not understand.

We, you and I, are 3 generations apart. Longfellow and I have always been good friends. His Evangeline is my style.

I have caught up to Haiku and Cinquains but yours is different.
I think I am too dense to grasp it. Surely “Even” indicates some thoughts I fail to grasp. [“Even” is one of the sonnets I sent. You can see all the sonnets (songnets) here.]

Don’t think I am criticizing. I have belonged to groups studying all kinds of writing. Poetry has been passed along to be read. Some people exclaim fervently. Others just stare and quickly pass the paper on. I dropped into a poetry class at the Univ. of Colo. and couldn’t understand a thing, so soon ducked out. Really, I’d like to know what I’m missing. My mind can’t seem to catch what to others may be a real find –

I wish I could have met you –


Florence       (over)

to catch a star mccarty 1996 cover

(next page)
I have read other stuff* of yours – Placitas etc. and like it. I can tune in on it. I’d really like to see more. It’s thought-provoking, really meaty I’d say.

We have 6 small books of poetry written by women poets in Sun City. They are tops – in Who’s Who in several categories. Rarely a day passes that I do not open one of these books. Poetry is indeed the highest art. A few words can often change my day. These gals write sonnets, haikus, cinquains and odes – probably passé to you.

I think you and I are much alike – full of words, and bursting at the seams. I just have to write! For 6 years I ghost wrote boys’ books, for another author. We wrote together from outlines he made. Used same characters. It was a series. He paid by the word (not much). When he died in 1947 my contract still had 3 years to go. His heirs weren’t interested so contract was canceled. He had made a fortune in the English Text Book field, retired and started the series as a hobby project. Most colleges in U.S. used his textbooks in the twenties. I don’t know what happened to books we wrote together. It doesn’t matter. He paid me per contract, and I did enjoy writing. His pen names was Steve Jones.

*Steve Jones and I always called our writing “stuff.” Most writers do.
to catch a star mccarty back cover

Dear Florence.

Yes we could have had, we could have had . . . such enriching conversations at least for me, but the spaces of the West can spread people out, spread families out.

My love and appreciation goes out to the memory of these women and I do take to heart what is expressed in these two personal items.

Here is a review of To Catch a Star.

Larry Goodell / Placitas, New Mexico / December 28, 2015


About larry goodell

Poet exploring his viable extensions - publisher, performer, playwright - hand to hand help in creating spaces for poetry to be live in - reading events, recordings, online and tangible publications in the vocal spirit of his New Mexico.
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