Text: Solveig Hansen, 2018
April 10, 1928. Publisher Angus & Robertson Ltd. in Sydney, Australia sends this letter to Frederick Charles Meyer of Katoomba:
No, you may not send us your verses, and we will not give you the name of another publisher. We hate no rival publisher sufficiently to ask you to inflict them on him. The specimen poem is simply awful. In fact, we have never seen worse.
ANGUS & ROBERTSON LTD.
The letter was brought to public attention in 2017 when Letters of Note shared it on their Twitter page.
Frederick Charles Meyer apparently didn’t give up but published Pearls of the Blue Mountains of Australia on his own in 1929, followed by Jewels of Mountains and Snowlines of New Zealand in 1934, and Bijoux of Mountains and Valleys of Tasmania in 1940.
A couple of his poems were among the contestants in a bad poetry competition run by Scoop magazine in 2001. He didn’t win.
A few lines from “My Pet Dog” by F.C. Meyer:
“Pluto! come here my dearest little dog,
Don’t get mixed up with every rogue,
And do not run into a fog…”
Angus & Robertson, now Angus & Robertson Bookworld, is still in business, selling books to Australians, as they have done since 1886.