Woolsey, Gamel (1895-1968)

        Writer and poet, she was born in South Carolina at a plantation. She was related to Judge Woolsey, who was responsible for the famous decision of 1933 that James Joyce's Ulysses was not obscene. She married Rex Hunter, a journalist from New Zealand in 1923 but they separated after four years of marriage. Coming to live in New York, she met Llewelyn Powys in 1927. She came to live near him in the south of England. They had a passionate love affair, although she was also a close friend of Alyse Gregory, his wife. In 1930 she met Gerald Brenan in Dorset and later followed him to Spain.

She wrote three novels, One Way of Love, which because of its sexual explicitness, was only published in 1987, Death's Other Kingdom (1939) whose subject is a first-hand record of the Spanish civil war, and Spanish Fairy Stories (1944), as well as Patterns on the Sand (unpublished). Middle Earth, a collection of 36 poems, came out in 1931 and was re-published by the English poet Kenneth Hopkins in 1979. Since then her Letters to Llewelyn Powys, 1930-1939 have been published in 1983 as well as her Collected Poems, in 1984, still by Hopkins' Warren House Press.

        John Cowper had mixed feelings about Gamel but tried to help Llewelyn in his desperate love for her:
I doubt if I should ever be myself what you might call 'thick' with the poetess, but we do both admire her and shall do our best — you may depend on it — under the circumstances to be especially sympathetic. (John Cowper Powys, Letters to His Brother Llewelyn, 9 September 1928)

Gamel Woolsey
Photograph origin unknown
For the Flesh

Feeling this passion in the flesh
Is beautiful beyond the dust,
And men have toiled long lives apart
For things not half so fair as lust.

I wish again to feel the spring
Run greatly through each little vein,
To try the strength of limb and limb
On the green bed of love again.

I have brought down the feathered words
To cry a little in my mood,
Such strength is in the narrow heart
To use the flesh, to use the blood.

Gamel Woosey, Middle Earth

For Gamel

It is your face, my dear, it is your face
That explains all the universe for me.
It is not what you think or what you see:
Something comes through your eyes that takes their place,
Just as when little children run a race
Nobody sees the end or the beginning,
Towards a vanished goal it is a chase.
The thing you look at is not there at all.
You are the Oracle, and Delphi's wall
Keeps echoing with something neither you
Nor I nor anyone will ever strew
Ashes upon, for it is more than time,
More than the God of Moses ever knew.

John Cowper Powys, June 7, 1959