Exchange of Letters
‘Man who is a serious novel would like to hear from a woman who is a poem’ (classified advertisement, New York Review of Books)
DEAR SERIOUS NOVEL,
I am a terse, assured lyric with impeccable rhythmic flow, some apt and original metaphors, and a music that is all my own. Some people say I am beautiful.
My vital statistics are eighteen lines, divided into three-line stanzas, with an average of four words per line.
My first husband was a cheap romance; the second was Wisden’s Cricketers’ Almanac. Most of the men I meet nowadays are autobiographies, but a substantial minority are books about photography or trains.
I have always hoped for a relationship with an upmarket work of fiction. Please write and tell me more about yourself.
Song of the First Snowdrop
The Oxford Book of Satirical Verse, ed. by Geoffrey Grigson (Oxford, New York, Toronto, Melbourne: Oxford UP, 1980), 467.