Dilettantes er, Generalists Unlimited
Bliv bruger af LibraryThing, hvis du vil skrive et indlæg
Dette emne er markeret som "i hvile"—det seneste indlæg er mere end 90 dage gammel. Du kan vække emnet til live ved at poste et indlæg.
Who might you have bumped into of note? Regale us here.
Roland, I've just discovered, even though the info has been staring me in the face since the days of Brave Team Ulysses apparently, is the author of A Sense of Order: Translations from French, Greek, Spanish, and Hawaiian; as well as Greek and Hawaiian Terms of Authority and Emotion in the Hawaiian Bible.
Roland is a retired professor of Classical Studies and retired librarian as well. What a renowned RESOURCE of a writer and academic we've had sitting under our collective noses all this freaking time, untapped, unpimped, unrecognized.
Anyone with a good literary anecdote is welcome to share it here as well. Drop as many big (or little known) names as possible! It's okay.
Thanks for being so open to the idea, Roland.
Your books aren't popping up in the touchstones, so I'm going to hunt Amazon for some links ...
Though an article from Oceania is available for download, Hawai'i's Russian Adventure: A New Look at Old History.
I missed seeing Ishmael Reed when he was speaking in Honolulu some years ago. I havenʻt yet read the only book I own by him: The Free-lance Pallbearers which I got at a bargain price at Bank of Hawaiʻiʻs Book and Music Fair the summer before last. Reed says somewhere that he is part Irish
(1/8, I think, and Iʻm 1/2). We probably donʻt have much else in common.
At the most recent Book Fair, my wife Leialoha Apo Perkins and I were speakers at one of the many panels. There is an LT connection, in that I used a quotation from one of the members, John the Fireman that I copied from Lt online:
"One (clear theme) is concern for the poor and marginalised. Jesus is critical of those who do nothing much to help THEM, and are part of the system which makes them poor and marginalised.
Is that an attack on the rich per se? Who knows, but it does tell me something about where I should put my energy." (emphasis added).
There was a sort of informal get-together with students interested in poetry. He sat in a big armchair with a girl sitting on each arm (of the chair.) Other girls were draped over the back aof his chair. I was
sitting on the floor, at his feet along with some other girls. They asked him all kinds of crazy questions and he was loving it. I'm trying to remember where the guys were. Around somewhere, I guess.
have met formally, following a reading, but nothing
more. So if I were making a list of "Authors I have
Known" (or even "have met") I would not include
that group --which would also contain Nobel Laureate
Heinrich Boll, e e cummings, and Thornton Wilder.
Wilder was met because of his tenuous connection
with Classics (Greco-Roman) at a meeting of the
Harvard Classical Club, Cummings and Frost
(who also was something of a classicist) at meetings
of wider scope, sponsored by Harvard; Boll, because
of his being a "B.U. author"* in the Special Collections
Dept. of the Boston University Library, my longest
term employer (though not in that dept.).
As for others who would rate mention as "Knew Author"
or at least "Met Author", I'll mention them later.
*means that B.U. owns his personal papers, or such
of them as he saw fit to donate. Among others belonging
to B.U. are those of Martin Luther King. I think there
was a law suit, years ago, about that disputed ownership,
in which B.U. prevailed over the King Family.
I'm excited to see, Roland, that your wife is a published poet. I will momentarily hunt for a link to her book and be back ...
Roland, perhaps you could share some excerpts of her poetry with us at some point, maybe?
6> I have a Kurt Vonnegut eyewitness account in the flesh, similar scenario to yours with Robert Frost, Marian, that I'll share the balance of later ... a doey-eyed freshman lass asked him at a meet-and-greet in his honour,
"Are you happy, Mr. Vonnegut?"
Chatted with Francis Huxley after a talk he gave at Det. Inst. of Arts. His RAVEN AT THE WRITING DESK is a fine effort.
I've met all sorts of people, from the Chairman of the Retired Admirals Association in 1965 to Janice Joplin to Jimmy Carter's daughter, Amy, but nary a writer of note in the bunch.
Chris, besides being an extra in Animal House, got to meet Joseph Brodsky who happened to be in Portland for some reason and his high school Russian teacher got him to do a reading for their class. He also won a poetry competition and got to take a master class with William Stafford who was OR Poet Laureate at the time.
When I was in the foreign service I met some well known journalists and TV pundits. The journalists were by and large OK. The pundits were jerks. Especially Wolf Blitzer who was such a prima donna ordering people around.
After the speech other foreigners and I lined up tobe introduced to him. I remembered to greet him with "Malo e laumalie!"* which is the usual greeting given to a Noble (and in Tongan protocol, bishops are supposed to be addressed by the Noble vocabulary.
The professor next to me in line, an Australian
had met the bishop before, and his greeting, in contrast to mine, was: "Hi, Pat!"
(For once Iʻm grateful to Touchstones: I see they picked up He spoke the truth in love..., a writing of ʻPat" which I didnʻt know about.)
*Malo e laumalie: literally: I commend you for your spirit, whereas the usual greeting "Malo e leilei" is "I commend you for being healthy."
"Pretty" isn't quite the word I would use: more "beautiful" but I basic ally agree with you.
It's o k to feel initiated, no matter what your nationality. I didn't even have any special reason to mention the nationality, especially as I don't go in for vast generlizations about nationality or ethniciy. No disparagement intended,anyway.
So the starry-eyed freshman hears Kurt Vonnegut sounding consistently curmudgeonly and cantankerous in his responses to student (and a few professor's) questions, Spring semester, '92, Chapman University, and asks him if he's happy.
Vonnegut's initial expression was, WTF! kind of question is that. Then he replied sarcastically, "am I happy, Young Lady?"
But he quickly recovered and answered the question by saying (paraphrased quote): "When I return to my hotel room tonight, I'll pour myself a glass of ______, and then I'll pour myself another ... and a warm glow will come over me..."
I forget what else he said, as we all started chuckling in the room. But it was clear that Kurt was not happy.
Here's a literary anecdote about meeting someone I didn't know whether I met (all too appropriate in this case).
I was out walking the neighborhood one day and there was unusual activity from our two local predators: a hawk that lives in the woods to the west of the neighborhood and an owl that lives in the Cemetary to the south of the neighborhood. They were alternatively up in the air, circling and hunting - not both at once, but one after the other. A somewhat elderly gent I did not know was out walking with one of the neighborhood children, and we and a group of other kids soon assembled at the corner to observe and discuss the skies. We talked for maybe 10-15 minutes before he went on his way, I turned back to my garden, and the kids generally dispersed. The fellow had an interesting command of literary references sprinkled in his conversation, very nonchallently and really apparently automatically.
A couple of days later, the child accompanying the gent informed me that the name of the person I'd been talking to is the same as a certain reclusive literary man who titles books for rockets and rocket parabolas. And she told me that he writes books. This came up because I had one of the books in my hand. The girl also happens to share his last name, though I don't know what the connection might be, and her mother just smiles when asked.
Of course, it may have been an elaborate ruse. But that won't prevent me from glancing through new books for a reference to our hawk and owl.
35> agree completely. Has there ever been a "happy" literary writer ever?
That'd be a good thread, Gene: Writers who's early (if not first) work was their best: Richard Yates, Mailer ...
Yes, Richard Yates was one of those authors
whose next work I couldnʻt wait to read. And then, of course it was --not bad-- but somehting of a disappointment, which it almost had to be, given my pre-formed attitude and expectations. Francis Pollini was another who fell in this category. After Night (terrible title, but a great novel) his next works were --good but not THAT good. (A little off-topic: Iʻve also found it hard to find out anything about Pollini in Google, other than his movie-writing
Mailerʻs second (Barbary Shore) was i m o, great, but very neglected. I wasnʻt familiar enough with The Naked and the Dead to think of comparing them, but I could see that barbary Shore was very under-rated*. It may be the best novel that has a political theme written in the early post-WW II era.
*under-rated: This word, to me, does NOT mean
"deserves at least a Pulitzer Prize, and why am I the only one who realizes it!?" Just as "OVER-rated does not mean ʻmediocre" or "no good". (In fact, I think a work has to be pretty good to BE over-rated.)
I interviewed and chatted with Gary Snyder at an event at a Tokyo ryotei in a beautiful garden which, though I've lived in the greater Tokyo sprawl for a long time, I had no idea existed. He was as gracious, sharp, intelligent, and witty as one would expect from his work. (The event, oddly enough, was sponsored by Swatch.)
I tend to think that creative greats would feel more strongly than others, so they would feel joy where normal people would feel contentment, despair where normal people would feel slightly "down" or depressed. I have no way of backing this up, but it's a prejudice of mine.
life long Democrat! Bush I perhaps shouldnʻt
put on this short list, because I didnʻt know,at the time, that I was seeing a future president: He was first baseman for the winning team, Yale, -- not for "my" team -- in a Harvard-Yale baseball game.
I never saw John F. Kennedy, although he was from my native state. Nor Robert F. Kennedy. Ted Kennedy} I saw only in a Veterans Day parade once. My tenuous connection with John Kennedy is that I received my high school diploma in Cambridge, MA from Mike Neville who was the incumbent representative whom
J F K defeated to enter Congress in 1946. I remember Mike saying that he wished "every senior in this auditorium were going to college!" I doubt that his recent opponent would have expressed such a wish I must admit that this seemed like a radical wish to me at the time.
Eisenhower I saw being driven through Union Square in Somerville, MA. His biggest Mass. supporter, *Henry Cabot Lodge, was waving to the heavily Democratic crowd. And Ike even carried Somerville -- probably the first Republican in the 20th century to do so.
*Lodge lost the November election to J F K, and was appointed ambassador to the U. N. by the Eisenhower Administration. He was later ambassador to South Vietnam under a Democratic Administration.
As for presidents, I have seen Bill Clinton, who doesn't have a touchstone? really? speak, and be schmoozingly gladhanded by our pirate premier, Gordon Campbell, and not do a very good job of handling his bewildered disgust, which supposed me considering how smooth he's supposed to be. Campbell is truly repulsive, though.
But some of the operatives were more colorful than Joseph's coat. One fellow, the guy who taught me how to make a good speech horrible and a horrible speech bearable by playing with sound and lighting, had stories about stealing a mass transit bus to get the press to a Bobby Kennedy speach. Real fear and loathing on the campaign trail stuff. These were usually people who would hop on a bus or a plane and head anywhere, make friends there instantly, and do whatever needed to be done.
There were more, but these are the one who stick in my memory. I also got to sit in on the Watergate hearings and saw John Mitchell walking down a hall with a scowl on his face, while surrounded by a lot of guys in black suits. All of this was when I was young, part of a small group that had been awarded a special internship/study tour of D.C., and was certain that I could save the world. As it turned out, I could not.
Paul Newman, but that's a long story.
Hank Aaron, but I already told that story.
Regarding the genius and happiness thing, I wrote an essay I enjoyed writing very much at uni, about how the Modernists decided that High Art was all about pain and suffering, whereas the writers before their time didn't bother much with angst, take Dickens for example, and all the English writers Porius says so many good things about. Before the Modernists, it seems that writing great literature was largely perceived as something to be worked hard on with scholarship, something difficult, yes - but not the traumatic birth of Inspiration from the labour of Genius and Suffering.
I saw Bobby Kennedy speak at a rally when I was in HS when he was running for the NY Senate race, Bella Abzug was loudly addressing a crowd in Washington Square when I was taking my doctoral exams, and my husband saw Obama here at the baseball stadium during his presidential campaign (I, unfortunately had a class to teach).
I get the impression (especially from Kathleen Raineʻs biography) that Blake, at least could have lived without suffering -- and felt like none the less of an artist and poet. The same, perhaps for Coleridge and Heine. For Byron and Keats, it was
perhaps a necessity. But Keats, I think, took suffering as something inflicted on him from outside, not built into his own temperament. He stood up to it courageously, without much complaining.
I donʻt know enough about Pushkinʻs life to say one way or the other,
Of course, to some one of my age (b.1931) "post-war" means post-1945.
I take it you mean post-First Gulf War? and the 3 youʻre talking about without naming are Clinton, George W. .Bush and Barack Obama? Arenʻt ALL of them lawyers, whether "rinky-dink" or not?
For what itʻs worth, the way I voted on them was:
Clinton: YES 2x; "W": NO 2x; Obama: YES.
Okay, I didnʻt get the "born". Thanks. I still donʻt get who is "Arbusto"? (56)
"GWB is not a lawyer. . ." (58)
Right, now that I think of it. I should have known
that: He went to Harvard Business School, his
second choice of a graduate program after U. of Texas Law School, which turned him down.
So the two lawyers were Clinton (b. 1946) (Yale Law School) and Obama.
"I wouldnʻt have clinton, bush, or obama run a pet store....." (60)
Reminds me of a common saying among my fellow-Democrats during the Reagan era: "Reagan wasnʻt EVEN a good actor!"
I didnʻt agree. If someone can convince voters that heʻs MORE conservative than Gerald R. Ford thatʻs what I call ACTING!
Thea, Barbara Jordan always seemed to me one of those wonderful people for whom we should just be thankful. Someone who really stood out.
And we like long stories (i.e., Paul Newman).
Paul Newman ... it's a great anecdote, but maybe a bedtime story to fall asleep by (not scary at all). I will get around to it, but not now. Maybe tomorrow evening.
And perhaps, Piero, only you and I know of my cameo appearance in your second metamemoir, Digging Deeper: A Memoir of the Seventies. It's a privilege and an honor and something I don't take for granted but am grateful grateful grateful for, your including me like that.
I never met Henry Miller and never expected to. He was of a different era*, though I must admit that he seemed, in the 1960s, to be someone that
you would take to be much younger; --more "ageless" than of a certain "generation" -while, chronologically, he was getting into his 70s.
I did figure that I would eventually meet Jack Kerouac (My hometown, Woburn, MA is about halfway between Boston and Kerouacʻs Lowell, MA.) But we never did meet. As it turned out, I met Jackʻs friend Gregory Corso -- and no one else of the Beat Generation authors -- except for seeing Alan Ginsberg doing a reading.
Gregory Corso was an interesting talker. But his listeneers were in danger of missing anything cogent that he said, due to its being lost in a sea of b.s. remarks. A very cogent remarkk of his was that "people are always talking about "RIGHT-and_WRONG", when they should be talking about "GOOD and WRONG". As a language maven, though not a moralilst, I agree. If nothing else, making "Good" and not "Right" the antonym of "Wrong" shows how
language can guide or misguide our thought patterns and assumptions.
John Updike of the Harvard class of 1954* lived in Greater Boston for years, maybe decades. He was another of my own generation whom I assumed I was eventually going to meet. Didnʻt happen and Updike died in the past year.
*I was class of 1952. The most famous member of my class is Daniel Ellsberg. Not surprisingly, I didnʻt know him in college. I was in Classics and he was in Economics (which was not a popular field at Harvard at the time.)
He deserves a few posts of his own.
"Really? You know him?"
"Sure. Tim"--Leary--"introduced us at Millbrook."
Turns out, Ginsberg's pad was on the next block, on East 11th Street, between Avenues C and D; I lived between B and C.
So we went there and were told that Allen was visiting his mother in New Jersey, but we were welcomed in by a woman who, it was said, was Ginsberg's girlfriend. Of course, everyone knows Ginsberg was gay, but I was led to believe--by the usual bullshit artists--that he was experimenting in bisexuality, so maybe not.
The woman was friendly, had taken an Indian name, Saraputtasamsari or something, and while cooking a stew in the tiny kitchen, was a gracious enough hostess to offer us drugs.
"Would you like LSD or STP?" she asked, opening a little jewelry box with a few shiny tablets inside. I declined, but Patrick, whose sole aim in life at the time was to "go supernova," opted for the STP.
Anyway, he sat down at the kitchen table across from another visitor--people were always dropping in--a guy with a beard, and I went into another room to look around. We all lived in relative poverty in the East Village then, but some of us lived well within those confines, Ginsberg especially, the bookshelves lining the walls filled with wonderful stuff--but all paperbacks, no hardcovers--and fantastic Arabic, Tibetan, and American Indian rugs all over the place.
Some lanky guy was reclining on a mattress--no one sat on chairs back then, only mattresses--a cigarette dangling from his mouth. Apparently he was always there. I said hello, he looked up from the book he was perusing and said hello back, the cigarette bobbing in his mouth, and after a while we heard shouting from the kitchen.
"Admit it, you're a narc!" Patrick's voice.
"I'm not a nark--you're the nark!"
"That's what you would say if you were."
"And that's what you'd say if you were!"
"I think you should leave."
"I won't leave unless you leave first."
"I'll throw you out of here myself!" Patrick, a former undercover agent for the FDA, was a tough mother; he would have done it.
At which point the dangling cigarette guy shouted: "I think both you guys should leave!"
I was embarrassed, felt bad for Sara-whatever, who was still cooking and trying to soothe the vibes while the two maniacs shouted at each other. So I went into the kitchen and said, "I think we should go, Patrick."
To which he responded: "I'll leave when he leaves!" and thrust a finger at the bearded guy.
"Whyn't both you guys leave at the same time!" the guy in the other room shouted.
And so they did, with me a few steps behind, in case Patrick decided to throw the bearded guy down the stairs.
I later learned that Ginsberg couldn't stand Patrick, because he thought he was a nark.
I missed "(your) book", somewhere along the way:
What is it?
Also, which, if any, of the Patrick Moores in "Search" is the one you refer to? Patrick T. ? Patrick M.? Patrick (NMI)?
And, as an alleged "beatnik" Iʻm almost ashamed to ask: What is S T P?
Sorry, I asked about "Moore", but meant "Malone", and Malone was the one I searched in LTʻs "Search".--finding at least 3, one of whom has written 2 editions of a "Drugs..." book.
So, is LT correct that (member) copyedit52 = (author) Weissman ?
STP was a psychedelic drug whose effects were somewhat different than LSD. There were some who believed that, as powerful as it was, STP (named after the racing car additive) skipped all the ecstasy and got right down to the absolute nothingness that was the nadir of cumulative LSD tripping, and thus destroyed the wonderful world in which we were about to live happily ever after in forever.
I should probably also point out that except for my own name, all the names in the book were changed. Thus, Patrick M, who by dint of becoming a character, is now that much further removed from being an actual person. But the above anecdote is entirely true in every particular, except the guy with the beard might have also been wearing sunglasses.
Thanks for the data. It sounds very logical that
STP is now discussed only in the past tense. Assuming that most people arenʻt interested in attaining "absolute nothingness". (Iʻm reminded of a curious quote from a member of our faculty in Tonga: On why he loved the desert: "Because nothing is more interesting than -- NOTHING!" He didnʻt expand on that -- tough topic TO expand on, anyway. I donʻt even remember his last name, though Iʻd love to give him "Credit" for the quote. He was Dennis _____, born in Moldava, lived in Israel, New Zealand and (briefly) Tonga.
His field: Veterinary Medicine.
He came to our yachtclub, because he was a keen fisherman ( like hemingway and Zane grey ). I got my autographe but he did not want to speak about his war years. Instead he engaged a discussion with me about fishing. What hooks and bait was I using? Where was I trailing ? At what speed I navigated while trailing and so on. Just half an hour with that great man, an impression which will last a lifetime.
I had the pleasure of organizing the event at which Norman Mailer endorsed Ted Kennedy for President. Rather than the usual pre-endorsement lunch with various biggy wiggys, Norman asked for a quiet lunch with the worker bees. Of course, we had a crowd of 1000 people for him right after lunch, and he'd barely given a thought to what to say, so we were a bit of a focus group for him to experiment on with speech themes.
There were four of us, all students, in a nice middling restaurant, off in a corner, and I don't know that I have ever seen a man who loved an audience and a rapt and worshipful audience so perfectly in unison. We loved hearing every word and he loved speaking every word (save the small handful elicited from us through fairly direct questioning). He was truly bigger than life, and, for those who talk about writers not being happy, the man was not just happy, he was in a state of virtual ecstasy, just soaking up the adulation.
Most of the lunch was made up of stories from his run for Mayor of New York, and, in particular, a very amusing and wonderfully told story of a meeting he had in Harlem where a resident there laid out what they saw in the city -- the big limosines carrying mayors about, the crowd of retainers following every politician, the nighly news features showing candidates emerging from swank hotels -- and she said every thing they looked at, all she could see was waste, waste, waste! She saw waste everywhere. She had just one question for him: when were the good people of Harlem going to see their share of the waste?!
Well, somehow, that wasn't the best theme for a presidential endorsement (Ted Kennedy: He'll Get You Your Share of the Waste!), and, while it was a great story, wonderfully told, we did manage to steer him away from using that as a theme. I don't remember the speech as well, though, since I think I was still basking in the afterglow of lunch with Norman.
Still being quoted when I was college age was
a Perry "definition" of a specialist:
Someone who knows more and more about less and less, and, finally knows EVERYTHIING about NOTHING. (Quoted, however -- and maybe still is --
without giving Perry (or anyone) credit for it.
What I never heard quoted until decades later was
Perry's continuation of it: the definition of a
"Someone who knows less and less about more nd more, and finally knows NOTHING about EVERYTHING." Hence, I mentioned to Enrique who was startiing this thread, that "Generalist" is the nice word for "dilettante".
It struck me, as soon as I heard Perry's dictum:PArt II, that if I HAD TO BE (his idea of ) either a
specialist OR a generalist, I would rather be a generalist and know "nothing about everything" than to know "everything about nothing". Because in the former case I would at least know that there is
an "everything" to know "nothing" about.
Me either. All the more reason to prefer knowing noting about everything.
But in evaluating my own intellectual history it has struck me that I was once fast approaching at least the aspiation to know eveything about nothing. About the tiime that I had left graduate school and was first working full time, I was spending a lot of time at a larger library (not the one I worked for)
"bibliographizing" -- with increased limitations on
which bibliographical items I would note down:
Literature, yes, but mostly Classics; within CLassics, Latin in preference to Greek. Within Latin, the ROman Empire rather than the Republic; WIthin the EMpir, poetry rather than history or philosophy; within poetry, EPic rather than any other genre.
Within EPic, maybe I should limit it to Lucan, Statius and Valerius Flaccus; but even at that, maybe I can get along without Statius, and concentrate on . . ..
It was at a 4 day poetry workshop at Ohio U. in Athens OH. It was in the summer in the 1980's & there wasn't a lot of AC. At the workshop, we all sat around a big table, maybe a dozen of us or so, all ages, & Mr. Bly had put a bunch of objects in the center of the table. He told us to each take one and just examine it for a while before he told us the next step.
I grabbed a Queen Anne's Lace flower head, which is considered a weed in those parts & then we were told to write every word that came to our mind regarding said object.
Several people had rocks, or small springs of leaves, all common stuff you see every day & don't think about. Finally we were ready to start the opening of our poems when someone came in & told Mr. Bly that the workshop hour was up. Mr. Bly did not take that kindly, & there was an outcry of "Oh, no's" from the participants, me included. But the schedule prevailed.
Robert Bly gave one of his famous readings that evening where he literally jumps into the performance of his poetry. The crowd was right with him, everybody yelling & cheering & clapping & joining him in song. That performance alone was worth the price of the workshop. He left the next day.
My #2 son attended Ohio U later, he majored in music & played in the band. Robert Bly gave a reading while he was a student but he couldn't see what all the excitement was about. They had to read Bly's poetry in class & he was unimpressed.
At a U.of Pennsylvania conference, back in the 1970s, my wife an I were attending a session at which the noted anthropologist Margaret Mead was
one of the audience.
One of the speakers a young woman of graduate school age, was about to start her presentation, and explalined that it had been written by a colleague of hers -- the scheduled speaker -- who was unavoidably unable to attend. She (the present speaker) had promised to read it for the writer.
Before she could begin, Margaret Mead, sitting in the front row said,
"Listen: DON'T read it! I've seen this happenn before, and it never works -- to
read someone else's paper." I think the first 4 words of Mead's outburst were just as above -- in a perempptory tone of voice, and more like a command than
The substitute speaker seemed surprised --as i was, too, I was, in fact, shocked -- but not overawed. She said, politely, but with signs of irritation, "I agreed to read it, and I think I had better go ahead as planned." And she did, M M having grunted a grudging approval.
I've always enjoyed whatever Robert Bly poems I've come across, or "acrost" as my Grandpappy would say.
and Margaret Mead, how weird. What the hell got stuck up her gluteus maximus?
I can see why you heard it. I wouldn't on the basis of one incident --the only time I saw her -- make the designation
myself. In fact, it's kind of depressing that one's only memory of a great anthropolgist (or great researcher, anyway*) is the only thing one remembers about her and points in that direction.
*I suppose it's still debatable whether she was great AS an anthropologist.
translated by Helen Beauclerk
About 160 degrees removed from that temperament was Robert Lowell by whom I heard a few readings. If there is such a thing as "low-keyedness", Lowell was that, personified.
Preparing to read the poem he wrote on the inauguration of President Dwight Esienhower in Jan. 1953, he give a little background info. The basis of it is rather obscure, and requires a knowledge of some Indo-Euopean philology, as it
makes a sort of Joycean play on words between "IKe" the inaugureeʻs nickname, and "iCe" (what Robert Frost said the world might end in). The affinity between these two mono-syllables is really far-fetched -- unless you know how medial consonants sometimes evolve in Western languages. He gave a background -- which DID not include the philological connecton--sounding as if these things were just now coming to mind.
Just before starting the reading, he murmurred ʻHmm. This may well be a PRO-Eisenhower poem!" Most of the audience laughed politely, but I had a feeling he wasnʻt joking.
The host, very british, originally canadian, most humbly apologized.
Apology shamefully stammered, eyes to the ground.