Moe, Maurice W[inter]

Moe, Maurice W[inter]
   Teacher, amateur journalist, and longtime friend and correspondent of HPL. Moe taught English at Appleton High School (Appleton, Wis.) and later at West Division High School in Milwaukee. He came in touch with HPL no later than the end of 1914 and maintained a substantial correspondence from that time until HPL’s death; it was at Moe’s suggestion, in the summer of 1916, that he, HPL, Rheinhart Kleiner, and Ira A.Cole begin a round-robin correspondence cycle, the Kleicomolo. Later, in 1919–21, Moe, HPL, and Alfred Galpin formed the Gallomo correspondence group. For a time Moe made copies of all the correspondents’ contributions, but these copies do not appear to survive. A devout theist, Moe argued repeatedly with HPL on religion, but their discussions—at times heated but never acrimonious—appear not to have altered either individual’s viewpoints significantly. In one of these argumentative letters (May 15, 1918; SL1.60–66) HPL recounted a dream that later served as the basis for “Polaris” (1918). Moe contributed frequently to the amateur press (and also to scholarly journals on education: see “Amateur Journalism and the English Teacher,” English Journal, February 1915) but never edited a paper of his own. He did, however, establish the Appleton High School Press Club for his students; they issued a paper, The Pippin. HPL wrote two poems commemorating two issues of the paper (those for December 1918 and May 1919), although neither poem was published at the time. Through this press club HPL became acquainted, in late 1917, with Alfred Galpin, then a student at Appleton High School. In 1917 HPL also wrote a brief poem, “To M.W. M.” (in “News Notes,” United Amateur,July 1917); HPL’s play Alfredo (1918) includes Moe as a character under the guise of Cardinal Maurizio; still later HPL wrote the poem “On the Return of Maurice Winter Moe, Esq., to the Pedagogical Profession” ( Wolverine,June 1921), commemorating Moe’s move to Milwaukee. HPL’s “The Unnamable” (1923) features, in Joel Manton, a character clearly based upon Moe. HPL met Moe for the first time on August 10, 1923, when Moe came to Providence; they later went by bus to Boston, where they met Moe’s wife and two small boys, Donald and Robert. The next day HPL took Moe, Albert A.Sandusky, and Edward H.Cole on a walking trip to Marblehead, but after trudging for hours the latter three protested and refused to go any further; HPL, still spry, grudgingly relented.
   For the next thirteen years their relations consisted solely of correspondence. HPL got into the habit of typing long letters to Moe recounting his various travels (the essays “Observations on Several Parts of America” [1928] and “Travels in the Provinces of America” [1929] are two such items), which Moe was to read and then pass on to other colleagues. In 1927 or 1928 HPL wrote a satirical biography of Ibid, which Moe thought of submitting to the American Mercury; but it was later decided that the piece was too specialized for a general readership, so it remained unpublished until it appeared in the O-Wash-Ta-Nong(January 1938). By this time HPL was assisting Moe extensively in the revision of his treatise on the appreciation of poetry, Doorways to Poetry,of which HPL thought very highly. One result of the work was HPL’s “Sonnet Study” (1929?), consisting of one Petrarchan and one Shakespearean sonnet. HPL also wrote several dozen sonnets, including Fungi from Yuggoth, and other poems after a long hiatus. Doorwayswas never published, and the manuscript does not seem to survive. A small pamphlet, Imagery Aids (Wauwatosa, Wis.: Kenyon Press, 1931), may be all that is left of this treatise. In late 1934 Moe asked HPL to contribute an article of his choice for an amateur magazine being produced by his students; HPL wrote an essay on traces of Roman architecture in America and sent it to Moe. It never appeared in the magazine, and HPL later believed it to be lost; but a transcript survives in AHT. HPL wrote the essay “Heritage or Modernism: Common Sense in Art Forms” ( Californian,Summer 1935) as an introduction to the Roman architecture piece.
   Moe visited HPL for the second and final time on July 18–19, 1936, as he and his son Robert (who was working in Bridgeport, Conn.) came to Providence. HPL had been corresponding regularly with Robert since 1934. Since they had a car, they managed to visit several of the surrounding towns— Pawtuxet, Warren, and Bristol. At that time Moe and HPL participated in a final correspondence group, the Coryciani, although only two letters by HPL survive. After HPL, R.H.Barlow, and Adolphe de Castro wrote their acrostic poems on Poe on August 8, 1936, Moe himself wrote one of his own and then hectographed all four as Four Acrostic Sonnets on Edgar Allan Poe (1936). August Derleth reprinted Moe’s poem in his anthology, Poetry out of Wisconsin (1937). After HPL’s death Moe wrote the brief but poignant memoir, “Howard Phillips Lovecraft: The Sage of Providence” ( O-Wash-TaNong,[1937]; rpt. LR).

An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. .

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