Saturday, February 18, 2006

Mentions of the week

A fan of the late Gen. William Booth has 'GENERAL WILLIAM BOOTH ENTERS INTO HEAVEN' posted here. This was Lindsay's 'breakthrough' poem. It appeared in Harriett Monroe's magazine, Poetry, in 1913. Monroe later called it "a geat event in art."

'THE DANDELION' is posted here.

A bit of "TO GLORIANA" is posted here.

For the full moon, Claudia in England posted "WHAT THE GRAY-WINGED FAIRY SAID" here.

The Lindsay-Teasdale courtship is recounted here.

Bob's Blog of Poetry lists Lindsay as an inspiration here.

Friday, February 10, 2006

"Poets in the Parlor" to feature Dr. Marcellus Leonard

Poet Professor Marcellus Leonard, author of Shake Down the Thunder, will give a performance of his work at a "Poets in the Parlor" appearance at the Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site on Saturday, February 11, at 2:30 in the afternoon.

Leonard is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Springfield as well as the University Ombudsman. He holds a PhD in Teaching Writing from Illinois State University.

This will be Dr. Leonard's second appearance at the Vachel Lindsay Home. His singular rendition of Lindsay's "The Congo" at his first appearance gave a whole new dimension to the piece. First published in 1914, the poem bills itself as "A Study of the Negro Race" and its first subheading reads, "On Their Basic Savagery." It's still Lindsay's most famous work, but it has always been controversial. Lindsay grew to detest the poem and the incessant calls for him to perform it, sensing that much of his audiences' appreciation for it was basically racist.

Leonard's own work is the real draw, though. His poetry is lyrical and sensuous, subtle yet honest. Come experience the warmth and vitality of the man and his talent.

VLA Prez interviews famous historian

Corrine Frisch, President of the Vachel Lindsay Association, interviews historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of the new bestseller, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, in this week's Illinois Times. This is not to be missed.

Goodwin will appear in Springfield for book signings and talks on Saturday, February 11, both at the Old State Capitol and at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. I'm hoping to get a book signed myself. How about you?

Mentions of the Week

Lindsay is mentioned in blog post of biographical information on the poet Robert Frost here:

1918 - Meets Vachel Lindsay, Sara Teasdale, and James Oppenheim. Pleased when Lesley leaves college after her freshman year to do war work in an aircraft factory. During national epidemic, Frost suffers severe case of influenza that lasts for months.

Lindsay is mentioned in an arty blog post about the Beat poet, Jack Micheline, here, that connects Lindsay to the Beats in an important way. I call the post "arty" because the font is black and the background also is black. To see the text you have to change the text color, and the easiest way is to do that is to select the text with your cursor (Ctrl+A is good keyboard command for PCs for this). Sigh. I'll do you the favor of quoting it here:

He began his travelling at the age of seventeen and didn't stop until he was twenty-six. Now he found a home in the streets of Greenwich Village, where he lived the next five years. Rapidly Micheline identified himself with the tradition of American street poets, such as Vachel Lindsay and Maxvell Bodenheim. He walked the streets of the Village and Harlem listening to jazz, digging the vitality and humanity amongst poor people. He found a friend in the black poet Langston Hughes who encouraged him in his writing.

Speaking of the Beats, a poem by Allen Ginsburg that mentions Lindsay is posted here.

A teenager posted "Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight" here.

The Langston Hughes discovery once again is recounted here.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Mention of the day

The story of Lindsay's discovery of the Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. is recounted here today.

Also, on Tuesday, a French language blog cited Lindsay's 1915 book, The Art of the Motion Picture (about a third of the way down the page).

Saturday, February 04, 2006

100 years ago

One of the self-appointed tasks of this blog will be to chronicle Lindsay's life "100 years ago today." Without ready access to his diaries and notebooks, the biographies will have to serve as the source of these proposed entries.

The West-Going Heart: A Life of Vachel Lindsay by Eleanor Ruggles remains the definitive Lindsay biography. Ruggles provides plenty of dates, but there are some long gaps such the one between December 23, 1905 and March 3, 1906.

One hundred years ago today, Lindsay was living in New York City, working by day for the Nicholls Gas Tubing Works and teaching art by night at the YMCA. He and some of his friends had formed a club for the purpose of sharing nightly suppers. The fact that they engaged a cook and a young boy to serve them dinner brought a stern rebuke from Lindsay's father, who didn't approve of the direction Lindsay's life was taking.

Mentions of the day

Adan Rodriguez quoted a line from "The Congo" as an epigraph to his book report on King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild.

Rodrquez, of Lookout Mountain, Georgia, is a senior at Covenant College. He confidently titled his post, "easy a".

"The Spider and the Ghost of the Fly" was just posted here by unkunvinst.

"To Lady Jane" was just posted here on The Clock's Loneliness.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Wedding of the Rose and the Lotus

For nearly a decade, this 8-by-16 foot mural depicting Lindsay's 1913 watercolor painting, "The Wedding of the Rose and the Lotus" has graced the exposed northern side of the two-story building at 107 North Fifth Street in the heart of downtown Springfield. It commands a position of prominence on the southbound one-way street, just off the left-hand turn from Jefferson Street, a block west of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Both the painting and the poem of the same title celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal and the intermingling of the waters of the Pacific and the Atlantic. The Rose signifies the West and the Lotus the East. Lindsay recited the poem to Woodrow Wilson's cabinet in 1915.

Sadly, time is having its way with the vibrant colors of the mural. A proper restoration is being considered, but the building is up for sale and new ownership may mean other uses for the space.


(A poem distributed to both houses of Congress by Secretary Franklin K. Lane on the opening day of the Panama-Pacific Exposition.)

Flags of the Pacific
And the Atlantic Meet,
Captain calls to captain,
Fleet makes cheer with fleet.
Above the drowned ages
A wind of wooing blows:-
The red rose woos the Lotus,
The lotus woos the rose . . .

The lotus conquered Egypt.
The rose was loved in Rome.
Great India crowned the lotus:
(Britain the rose's home).
Old China crowned the lotus,
They crowned it in Japan.
But Christendom adored the rose
Ere Christendom began . . .

The lotus speaks of slumber:
The rose is as a dart.
The lotus is Nirvana:
The rose is Mary's heart.
The rose is deathless, restless,
The splendor of our pain:
The flush and fire of labor
That builds, not all in vain. . . .

The genius of the lotus
Shall heal earth's too-much fret.
The rose, in blinding glory,
Shall waken Asia yet.
Hail to their loves, ye peoples!
Behold, the world-wind blows,
That aids the ivory lotus
To wed the red, red rose!

Mention of the day

"Euclid" was posted on The Millstone today by blogger Claudia from Buckinghamshire, U.K.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Mentions of the day

"Queen Mab in the Village" is the poem of the day today at Jimmy Hui's blog

Another blogger mentioned Lindsay at the bottom of this page.

And another blogger just quoted Lindsay here.

The Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site

603 South Fifth Street, Springfield, Illinois

Take a virtual tour of the home courtesy of the IHPA!

This is the house where Vachel Lindsay was born on Nov. 10, 1879 and where he died on Dec. 5, 1931. It is maintained as a state historic site by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday.

The Vachel Lindsay Home hosts regular programming including the "Poets in the Parlor" series featuring area poets sharing their works and the "Saturday Mornings at 603" series featuring historic and literary presentations.

The house is one of the gems on Springfield's crown, along with the Governor's Mansion, The Abraham Lincoln Home, Frank Lloyd Wright's Dana-Thomas House, the Elijah Iles House, The Edwards Place, and so many others. The Vachel Lindsay Home has been meticulously restored to represent a period approximate to the 1910s with original furnishings throughout.

The house reportedly was built in 1846 by the same people who built the Abraham Lincoln Home a short distance away. An early owner of the house was Clark M. Smith, the husband of Mary Todd Lincoln's sister, Ann. Abraham Lincoln is known to have visited the house and attended a reception in his honor there shortly before departing to Washington in 1861.

Dr. Vachel Thomas Lindsay, the poet's stern father, bought the house in 1878 and, with his wife, Katherine Frazee, raised three children there, Olive, Nicholas Vachel and Joy. After the parents had passed away and the house was rented out, Lindsay returned to the old homestead in 1927 with his young wife, Elizabeth, and their two children, Nick, Jr. and Susan Doniphan.

After Vachel's death, Elizabeth and the children left Springfield, while the house remained the property of Dr. Lindsay's surviving heirs. In 1958, it was aquired by the Vachel Lindsay House Fund and in 1990 it was donated to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.