4to (11 x 8.5 inches). One page. Fair copy transcribed, signed and dated May 3, 1942 by Moore. Evidence of folding, buy in fine condition. Item #408789
Moore titles the poem at head, and writes its complete 27-lines in her characteristic neat, sinuous hand. She notes that it was made at the request of Thomas Brumbaugh of Greencastle, PA, and that it is the poem as published by Macmillan in 1941. One of Moore's most accessible and famous poems, "What Are Years" explores life through the questioning of binary opposites. Thomas Brumbaugh noted in his essay "In Pursuit of Miss Moore" that he wrote his first letter to the poet while a college student in 1942, reaching out to her both as a collector of signatures and a fellow poet. She sent this fair copy to him in May 1942, and wrote to him on his reply: "If your autograph-hunting has not had phenomenal results, it is perhaps because the requests made, follow a stated pattern. I do not favor autograph-collecting; it yields too little in the way of true flavor and casts on you the suspicion of surface interest in writing, but if tempted to make such effort, the request should be human; should have an unmistakable touch of individuality; for example, 'Could you be so generous as to give me your autograph, or a scrap of something you are discarding? A wooden request but not from a wooden motive. I enclose a stamped envelope'" (Thomas B. Brumbaugh, "In Pursuit of Miss Moore,' in: The Mississippi Quarterly, Spring 1962, Vol. 15, no. 2).