The Magazine

Formal Address

The correspondence of Anthony Hecht.

May 27, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 35 • By WILLIAM H. PRITCHARD
Widget tooltip
Audio version Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

I end on a personal note, since the penultimate letter in this collection is one written to me, in August 2004. It contains a long paragraph of critically incisive observations about Philip Larkin’s poetry as compared to Larkin’s sometime masters, Yeats and Thomas Hardy. Then a new paragraph in which he reveals that he has been diagnosed with cancer and has completed the first session of chemotherapy, “which will not only leave me shorn but carry me into late November.” He enclosed one of his last poems, “Declensions.” He would die in October of that year.

William H. Pritchard is Henry Clay Folger professor of English at Amherst College.