What Critics Say of Me as a Poet and of My Work
[Written about Mabel Law Atkinson]
Sept. 7, 1956
Mabel Law Atkinson is a poet of great vision, depth and power. She not only lives in the modern, she writes FOR it. Eternally young and overcoming health handicaps that would give pause to many a woman half her age, she smiles in the face of the burgeoning atom, believing with this editor that "the soul of man is larger than the things that man has made." She lives her life and writes her poetry from day to day and not from worry to worry, with a serenity and faith, and a knowledge of "Things not seen." Winner of many prizes and represented in most of the better poetry journals of our day, she also takes an active part in the cultural affairs of her community, state and nation, though she must do so from her bedside. She is proud that her wonderful daughter, Frances, shares her interests and has even tied with her in the National Thanksgiving Day short story contest. With more poets like Mabel Law Atkinson it would never be written of this nation, "They Had No Poets, So They Died." For poets like this one are a credit and a glory to our country and a star in its crown of stars.
1410 South Oxford
Los Angeles 6, Calif.
Aug. 27, 1956
Mabel Law Atkinson is an authentic poet. It is not necessary to point to her many honors to prove this statement. She is a true poet in her zealous study of the artistry of poetry, even more in her sensitive awareness of life.
--Snow Longley Housh
Comments on Some of My Poems
The Christmas poem that won (I Shall Keep Faith) is exquisite, truly a sacred thing. No wonder it placed first!
Robert J. Richardson
4401 Walnut St. Rte. 2
Santa Cruz, Calif.
The beautiful poem, "I Shall Keep Faith" surely deserves to win the first place in the Archer Christmas Contest.
Every one of your entries in both contests (Miniature and Chant Royal) was perfect, and both judges exclaimed about it. You are a peerless poet, and I am so glad to have you in our Chromatones Family.
"His Hands" very beautiful--every word says a great deal and no waste words.
"God Can Hear From Anywhere," a poem deeply appealing to emotion and sympathy ... and especially in this day of war and suffering when compassion is constantly stirred for those who must see their dear ones called to battle. The very sweet incident of the little daughter's faith expressed, was like a heavenly note of healing. I love the poem.
--Mrs. Mary Louise Busey
"God Can Hear From Anywhere" in American Bard July, Aug., Sept. 1953. Your poem reminds me of the Bible verse, "A little child shall lead them." How often the child faith shames our doubts and fears. Your poem has a good message, a lesson for us all.
Alice E. Chatfield
Enfield, New Hampshire
"The Goddess Speaks" is very beautiful. What a wonderful world this might be if the last two lines were followed by all. No wonder this poem placed first in Democracy Contest!
--Louise Preston Greene
Your courage is unbelievable, but remember what happened to me. There are always miracles and who is more worthy of one. My hopes and prayers are always with you.
Comments on my prize-winning Arabesque, "April Returns":
First stanza: lovely. 2nd: all good images; 2nd line of 3rd stanza: nice use of singing vowel sounds--Comment in general: Pattern of arabesque is kept; a lovely picture is presented, and the mood of movement, of color and of music is sustained throughout poem.
Comment on "Etchings": By last stanza: strong writing. General comment: very nice poetry. Theme well developed; mood kept throughout. Final stanza fine.
Oct. 21, 1953
Congratulations again (on winning firsts in MFCP contests) and God bless you in your contributions to a sick world which needs you so much.
I see your name in quite a number of poetry magazines including the current Lyric. Your work is steadily gaining in strength and beauty; and it is to your credit that you never wasted time on worthless and silly themes.
Your word portraits are just beautiful! Everything you write has so much character and spirituality in it! I like them all, and am accepting them all. I especially love the one you wrote to Virginia Cummins, and the one to Clarence Shary. You're a fine, prolific writer. Thanks for sending so many to me.
Word Portraits Dept. American Bard
Your poems are exceptionally fine. If you had lots of money and could afford it, I would have suggested that you send at least 100 copies of the cloth bound edition to the larger colleges and universities; it would have been a great and permanent memorial to you. I congratulate you on the excellency of the literary material.
--Elvin Wagner-- Publisher of Inviolate Eden
Many thanks for your exquisite poem, "The Sea Is Singing." I have never read a finer poem. What forceful and beautiful last two lines of your sonnet!
--Grace S. Bail
"The Sea is Singing" and "To You Who Wear White Cloaks" both express the true essence of Americanism and remind readers again of the original principles of our Constitution in Good Poetry.
Your prize Pendulum poem "To My Son" (2nd place) has a very stimulating message and is forward looking. Something unusual.
--Dr. Etta Josephean Murfey
God bless you for your faith and for your poem "God Can Hear From Anywhere."
--Amy Woodward Fisher
The prize won by Frances is a wonderful thing. A gift from God, but won by her own hard work. I wan to print it in the Bard.
--Rexford Sharp, Editor
I am keeping all of your poems (seven). I think they are the best lot of poems I have ever received. You are a fine poet. Did you fully realize this?
May God bless you,</br /> Helen L. Linham, Ed. The Poesy Book
I was struck by your acute and perceptive poem in the Spring Archer. ("With Heart Untouched")
--Katharine Day Little
Your poems are quite thoughtful and exceptional, and I am asking that you send the book. I like the stand you take on the race question.
--George B. Thornton (African American)
I like all your poems but the most touching I have read in many a day was your prize-winning poem in the Archer. It is beautiful! What comes from the heart will reach the heart of another and we are assured that nothing is ever lost if we have faith.
You have a poem here that should be listed with those considered great. Your work is always good, but "With Never a Backward Glance" is much more than good.
Oh what a beautiful poem came to me this morning from your heart and brain. ("With Hands That Are White") You are close to God. He is the Fountain from whom poets like you drink deep draughts.
--Georgia Belle Perry (Sept. 1956)
"To You Who Wear White Cloaks"-- a strong appealing poem.
--Ella Louise Heatley
"The Sea Is Singing"--A fine sonnet with an intriguing title. The rhythm is forceful, and it expresses the hope of all who long for peace.
--Lucile Chandler, Mpls., Minn.
"God Can Hear from Anywhere"--an impressive little gem.
--Lucile Chandler, Mpls., Minn.
"To You Who Wear White Cloaks"-- A fine sonnet, speaking out boldly against race prejudice.
Your poem "Granny's Rosy Glasses" is so clever. One can almost see Granny with her twinkling eyes and rosy glasses, and how your John won her.
--Mary Hall, San Francisco
"With Never a Backward Glance"-- An excellent poem of its type, achieving a moral lesson without triteness or a sermonizing attitude.
Wm. J. Noble, 1566 Kearney, Denver, Colorado
"Loneliness"-- A real painting in words. I love the image "stiff brocade of spinsterhood"
"WIth Never a Backward Glance"-- A new idea beautifully written.
--Doris Owens, N.J.
"April Returns"-- Reminds one of Disney in color on the same theme. Vivid pastoral scene enchantingly pictures.
--Robert E. Haggard, Denver, Colo.
"The Coming of Mondamin"-- A lovely poem with all falling accents. Congratulations.
--Lillian Dirksen, Sumner, Iowa
"We Gathered Mountain Bluebells"-- An excellent sonnet, a beautiful nature poem which comes directly from the heart of a nature lover and a true poet. Truly a beautiful poem, lyric in quality, and outstanding in sincerity and poignant feeling. Thank you for a very lovely poem.
"We Gathered Mountain Bluebells"-- How I wish that I might write a sonnet to the memory of my sister, Mabel, as beautiful as yours. We too sought out the Bluebells each spring, the violets and the Jack In The Pulpits. Do you remember, or did they grow there in your woodland? Even your mother's smile is my dear mother's smile. I thank you for this fragment of beauty created from more than mere words, from the depth of your lovely heart.
"We Gathered Mountain Bluebells"-- A better-than-usual expression of this theme. Avoids mawkish sentimentality without loss of sentiment. Smooth-flowing musical lines.
"Comparison"-- A cute and clever poem.
--Inez Marshall, San Antonio, Texas
"Legend of the Hope Snake Dance"-- Another fine poem of yours in an Indian vein. Effective and full of bright pictures.
"Country Doctor"-- So often I note your poems in A. B. and they all show the writer to be a really sensitive artist and a careful thinker. This poem is an example of good work you may well be proud of.
"The Coming of Mondamin"-- A delightfully told story of Indian lore. "Portrait of Dr. Flozari Rockwood"-- Your workmanship pleases with its lucidity and smooth flow and sincerity. This is the kind of tribute to delight the heart not only of the subject but of all who read it.
--Robert J. Richardsen, 4401 Walnut St. Rte. 2, Santa Cruz, Calif.
"Where Wild Ferns Grow"-- A picture translated into words. It leaves a feeling of peace.
--Judge of Fern Poem contest
"Lincoln"-- Entire poem should be read aloud, and attention drawn to the unusually fine expression: chrysalis of ebony.
--Judge in contest where it placed first
"To You Who Wear White Cloaks"-- Subject handled very well.
--Peggy Windsor, Garnett, La.
"Symphony"-- A tiny symphony itself.
--Beulah Jackson Charmley, Whitewater, Wis.
"The Sea Is Singing"-- "The earth a great Democracy of Love" should become a deathless phrase. She is a versatile artist.
--Jean Chalmers Donaldson
"To You Who Wear White Cloaks'-- You have expressed beautifully a thesis I should like to shout from housetops. I envy you for having written it.
--Opal Blosser Loucks, Kansas
"God Can Hear from Anywhere"-- Well written and needing to be said.
"When I Arise"-- This is lovely.
"To Higher Pastures"-- One poem I wish I had written.
"Miracle of the Gulls"-- You have written an epic poem.
--Margarette Ball Dickson, Staples, Minn.
"Country Doctor"-- I am especially touched by this poem. There are several doctors in my family.
--Ann Foster Ellis, Los Angeles
"We Gathered Mountain Bluebells"-- As fresh and beautiful as a Bluebell itself--beautiful words and beautiful rhythm.
--Caroline H. Bair, Ohio
"We Gathered Mountain Bluebells"-- I read with pleasure your lovely sonnet. It is written with beautiful simplicity and has that heart-touching nostalgia which makes it so appealing. Poetry, like music, should flow restfully over the soul, and I have no patience with the poet who hides his meaning (if any) in obscure terms. Your language is clear and direct, yet beautiful and poetic, and above all, has emotional appeal.
--Edith Powell Wortman, 526 Second Ave., Albany, Georgia
"The Sea Is Singing" and "To You Who Wear White Cloaks"-- Congratulations! Excellent poems, and well worthy of being prize winners. Excellent sentiments, well expressed, and your technique is very good also.
--Ida M. E. Campen
"Portrait of Father" and "Portrait of Mother"-- Sentiment with restraint and quiet dignity.
--Wm. J. Noble, Denver, Colo.
"God Can Hear from Anywhere"-- Give us more like this; the world today needs it so bad.
--Ola Bee Kelley
"The Goddess Speaks"-- You have a beautiful gift for apt phraseology. You are doing splendid work in many different forms.
--Opal Blosser Loucks, Neodesha, Kansas, Rural Route 1
"Spirit of Democracy Speaks" and "Democracy's Acropolis"-- Both are most inspiring and powerful.
--Miriam R. Krenickoff, Pa.
"Legend of the Hopi Snake Dance"-- Legend is well told and graphically presented, and the rhythm is very appropriate.
--Nina Willis Walter
"Granny's Fragile Years"-- Impressed by the picture you draw. Your poems are always good. I envy you the many poems you are able to write for they are widely published and always good. You are a most productive author and your poems delight many readers.
--Leta M. Edwsards, Neb.
I want to congratulate you on your wonderful winning poems in the World Peace contest. I note you tied yourself for third place.
--Louise Preston Greene
Lincoln, May 11, 1953: My but you covered yourself with glory at this Retreat--So many honors and such lovely poems. I have copied them to use on my radio program. I hope you are improving. It is wonderful to have such a beautiful spirit that sings on in spite of bodily pain and distress. Keep on for the world needs your singing.
--Edna P. Neely
Your sweet spirit shines beautifully through your words and thoughts. You are a fine writer. You show a real grasp of truth and a fine sense of values in life. Your family is very fortunate to have one such as you in their midst. Congratulations on being chosen as a judge for one of the contests conducted by the Calif. Fed. of Chaparral Poets! That was a real tribute to the fine work you have been doing and the high standing you achieve repeatedly in contests.
--Robert J. Richardson
Dear Friend,-- Many thanks for so graciously sending a copy of Frances' beautiful essay, a real treasure of a composition, full of that love of homeland which sees beyond visible symbol and pageantry to the daily task, and bears with it the candle to make that task glorious, however humble. You may well feel proud to have such a splendid daughter. How I wish we could have seen her on television! I am sure she did credit to her splendid family. Are those "lovable boys" your brothers, and the one you mention by name? I imagine so. What a happy picture you create in that poem! And that exquisite "To My Son" shows how, together with the essay, that wholesome strain was carried on. May it continue through many generations to contribute to the highest glory of America and the human race. My parents were both teachers, but my father died in WWI, picked off by a sniper as he was tending a wounded comrade, and Mother taught my sister and me at home. None of us is or has ever been very strong--frail health.
--Robert J. Richardson, 4401 Walnut St. Rte. 2, Santa Cruz, Calif.
I saw your Frances on Television and knew at once that she was a wholesome, lovely girl. I don't make mistakes in reading character. Her eyes fascinated me. I adore the essay. So sweet of her to send me one of her prized copies.
--Grace Marshall (Word Weaver)
"Granny's Rosy Glasses"-- This is a gem. I have lived with and among older people so much of my life that I treasure poems such as yours which are so true of their older insight and wisdom.
--Hazel H. Chandler
"I Shall Keep Faith"-- This is a very fine little poem that appeared in a Pocatello paper. It is very well written and the content is strong and beautiful. I lost my dear husband recently so truly appreciated your poem.
--Jennie Broughten Brown, Pocatello