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Dame Edith

In response to:

Nothing Like a Dame from the May 20, 1965 issue

To the Editors:

In reading Mr. Grigson’s review of Taken Care Of NYR, [May 20], I was reminded of the lines

My wrinkled face; my hat that flaps
Will hide it…

The egomania, the “poseur of art,” the hauteur of it all, somehow relieves the painful, dreadful things the late Edith Sitwell often said and wrote. I think it will be great fun to “explain or explain away…the reverential praise of…the late Edith Sitwell.”

Some poets have genius and that is very fine; others know the ingredient is lacking, but they sing just the same. It is bold, stupid, defiant, etc., but done well, even a mistake can be intriguingly revealing. If Pope could have read Edith’s biography of himself, I am sure she would have made his Dunciad, made it in grand style, with a long, sweeping cloak of voluptuous vocables and thick alliterations.

I am very sorry she is dead; I suspect she wanted very much to be loved. In her world of great ancestors, only a genius had a chance of receiving that basic acceptance that opens the world to one.

Joseph Sampiere

New York City

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