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October 20, 1957 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1957-10-20
This is a tabloid page

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'Exiles & Marriages'
An Exceptional First Book


The Universities Have Played a lig Part
In Its Growing Acceptance
Among Americans


(Continued from Page 9)

His dogs will whimper
through the webby barn,
Where spiders close his tools
" in a pale gauze
And wait for flies..'..
When next October's frosts
harden the earth,
And fasten in the year's
The farm will lie like driftwood,
The farmer dead,
and deep in his carved earth.
THIS IS indeed a poem of mar-
riage; the poet finds affirmation
and direction in the experience of
I number out the virtues
that are dead,
Remembering-his soft
consistent voice
That sharpened on the difficult
to tell,
His honesty, his subtlety,
and most,
The bone that showed
in each deliberate word.
There is no exaltation of the dead;
the vision evoked is one of a bare
and dignified horiesty:
Another rank of virtues
was his trade's,
His working love
of animals and land-
No rhapsodies, but hands
that shaped and made
Domestication of the
The poem itself is a fusion of
the values Hall ascribes to his
grandfather with the qualities
which characterize his own best
poems, for the bare bone of each
deliberate word does show, and
domestication is but another npme
for making form of chaos "by


choice ... with every act" in "an
age of choice and discontent /
Whose emblem is 'The difficult to
choose'." It is Hall's way of driving
life into a corner.
Exiles and Marriages is not free
of flaws and Hall's chief one lies,
I think, in his use of wit, although
most critics have praised it. At
times Hall's wit happens in bril-
liant, well-turned flashes:
Poetical Philander only
thought to love:
He went to bed with what the
girls were symbols of.
I learned in a vision a secret
that nobody knows:
Criticism must be at least as
well written as prose.
At other times what is lighted by
the flashes is less the substantives
of the poems than the-poet himself
whose technical facility will bear
repeated scrutiny before his wit

invites- a second reading. "Six
Poets in Search of a Lawyer" and
"The Body Politic" are clever-
NEITIftR of these poems pro-
duces the pleasant .discomfort
of self-recognition, but an almost
embarrassed silence. One sees a
poet grimly determined to amuse
a society uncertain that it needs
any poetry at all. Perhaps a great-
er sense of detachment between
poet and poem would have made a
difference. The other alternative
would be a greater indignation or
fury than seems consistent with.
Hall's other, better poems. Wit is
irresponsible in immediate effect,
for producer or perceiver, what-
ever its end; to lack the irresponsi-
bility places the poet dangerously
near didacticism on brief effect.
Such a personal stricture on
Hall's poems of wit ought not de-
flect any reader. His fine lyric gift
is repeatedly shown in poems that
are personal without being pri-
vate, that are never maudlin or
popular in the bad sense. "Carol,"
"September Ode," "New England
November," "Jamaica," and "The
Sleeping Giant," are other fine
poems that plead for quotation
entire. There can be no doubt that
Donald Hall is a poet with high
human qualities who cares not
only about poetry but about life as
I pray for time and place
To shape my changing face
And loose intelligence
By will to excellence,
So that from death will be
Preserved some part of me.
In hate of death I make
These words for my own sake.
The art of poetry does not ask
more dedication of its maker, nor
the art of living greater confirma-

(Continued from Page 15),

and flourescent colored socks at
close-out sales in the United
States and re-selling them in
Moscow. His only problem then
would be deciding what to do with
the rubles.
New buildings on the outskirts
of Moscow house the technical
and scientific departments of the
University. Here is one of the.
great showplaces for tourists. At-
tention is automatically focused
upon the main building. Its. 26
floors contain lecture rooms, lab-
oratories, libraries, student living-
quarters, and even accomodations
for some of the professors. Our
Intourist guide told. 'us that all
lectures and discussions were re-
corded. In this way, he said, if a
student misses his class,' he can
go to the library and listen to,
what occurred. He neglected to
point out the "1984" effect upon
open discussion.-
The big showplace is, of course,'
the Kremlin. In a sense this is.
the center of Russia's Disneyland'
The museums and gardens with-
in the walls of the Kremlin are
open as long as the visitor takes
care not to step outside the
p ain t ed white lines on the
grounds. The guards did not stand
out unduly, for by this time we-
were accustomed to seeing so
many men in uniform.
Lew Engman, who graduated
from the University last year
(Le majored in economics) was
Student Government Council
treasurer and one of the two
Honors Convocation representa-
tives last year. He is presently
studying in London, England.

THE CLIMAX of the tour was
the visit to the mausoleum.
There Lenin and Stalin lie in
state. It is only open for two
hours a day and fantastic num-,
bers of people begin to line up
early every morning. There were
many foreign delegations with
wreaths of flowers and tears in
their eyes. Thre were also thous-
ands of Russians. As "capitalist
tourists" we apparently had spe-
cial priority for we were brought
to the head of the line.
Inside it was cool - the only
place we visited,,in Russia which
was air-conditioned. The sight of
their former leaders lying in a re-
markable state of preservation
and nearly close enough to touch
must have a tremendous psycho-
logical impact upon the people.
Even Joe Stalin looked benevolent
in a stern sort of way. It was im-
Throughout our trip the Rus-
sians were good hosts. The "red"
carpet was rolled out for us but
even the Russians couldn't fabri-
cate one that was big enough to
cover up everything.
The fact remains that it is a
country of contrasts. Shabbily
dressed people ride in glass-topped
buses or-.through subway stations
lined with marble. To an Ameri-
can visitor they look strange
against a background of brightly
gilded fountains in a park.
But the young rebel from Mos-
cow University who thought that
most of the people Just don't care
appeared to be right. By West-
ern- standards, the level of liv-.
ing is pitifully low. But there are
,the promises of tomorrow embod-
ied in the great showplaces: And
most people seem to be eating.
Apparently for some men, espe-
cially those with a background ofr
hardship and war, this is suffi-
cient. If it is, it is a foreboding
manifestation of the power of
Big Brother.,

PERA WAS, in the first place,
an accident. Like so many in-
ventions that turn out to be some-
thing entirely different from what
the inventor intended, it bega-i as
an attempt to revive ancient Greek.
-drama. Instead, the small group of
Florentine artists and philosophers
created a new form. Where they
set out to produce drama they pro-
duced a hybrid art which came to
be dominated by music rather'
than drama or the dance.
As one might expect, an art of
such manifold complexities pre-m
sents many problems to those who
practice it and those who enjoy it.
In an age which tends toward cal--
lousness and disbelief, an age
which which is sometimes cynical
and unfeeling, opera tends- to be
ridiculed, for it : is by definition,
like even the most representative'
of the arts, unrealistic. For some,
the fact that we don't go around
singing arias to each other in our
daily lives is a serious deterrent
to the appreciation of opera.
Also, opera, like symphony or-
chestras, ballet and drama, is-ex-
pensive, 'though the problem is
perhaps a, bit more acute, since
opera requires the services of so
many groups at once. This factor
is especially discouraging to the
American business genius who may
conclude that- if it can't make
money, then it isn't any good.'
FOR CENTURIES the secular
arts were pastimes for the pow-
erful and wealthy, especially the
more complex and therefore more
expensive arts. When opera was
born, about the year 1600'in Italy,
it quite naturally was a thing so-
licited and paid for by the nobil-
ity. Indeed, for years an opera was
a thing to be produced on some
great occasion and then to be put
-'away and forgotten. It was under
this sort of patronage that .opera
grew from its beginnings to the
art we now know.
Thus allkover Europe, opera,
through a long, patient" process,,
became rather deeply rooted in
the life of the people, even'though
it was made possible by the-riches
of the high-born. The gradual de-
velopment of democratic thought
and the final overthrow of autoc-
racy did not destroy it. Where the
new democratic governments as-
sumed an obligation to the cultur-
al life of their various peoples,
opera was included. And so opera
became a natural part of the
European democratic tradition.

The responsibility for cultural life
did not become. an integral part
of. our government as it did in
Europe; therefore we cannot count
on state support for opera, theater,
and ballet. Consequently, for years
we had only one professional opera
company in all the United States
--the Metropolitan Opera Associa-
tion of New York, and even this
group has not been without its
difficulties. But in the last few
years the- situation has b e e n
changing rapidly. A snowballing
movement' has already brought
opera to millions and revived in-
terest in the form--an interest
closely connected with the aca-
demic community.
IN EUROPE the great universities
were never called upon to con-
cern themselves with anything
outside of their particularly schol-
arly pursuits, for the life of the
student was easily r o u n d e d
through the multiplicity of cul-
tural activities he found roun'd
about him every day. As a result,
European universities still treat
the arts only in a scholarly fash-
ion; artistic skills are taught in
conservatories or schools.
On the other hand, because of
the dearth of artistic endeavor
around them, American schools
were compelled from the beginning
to provide as best they could for
the cultural development of their
students. Consequently, schools of
fine arts were directly incorporated
into universities, which now confer
even the highest degrees in the
applied arts.
In the past few years, however,
opera has shown a far more than
normal activity in the .academic
community. Opera workshops have
sprung up everywhere, producing
everything from isolated scenes on
a bare stage with a piano for
accompaniment- to the most ela-
borate productions of complete
operas. In many schools opera de-
partments which began as cul-
tural adjuncts to a university have
now b e c o m e operatic training
schools of professional caliber,
and are beginning to turn out
artists who will doubtless find
"EJ *

KINESCOPING a scene from Act IV of "Aida" at the University
Mattfield as Amneris and the eh(

their places In professional opera
somewhere in the world.
SUCH HAS BEEN the case in
Ann Arbor. In the Temporary
Classroom Building one can see
posters advertising operatic pro-
ductions which date far back into
'the history of the University and
the School of Music. In 1952, Prof.
See OPERA, Page 15



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HOWEVER, things took place
somewhat differently in the
New World. The exploration and
settlement of North America took
place during the growth of demo-
cratic ideas in Europe so that when
a government was formed there, it
partook immediately of a demo-
cratic traditionfostered in a place
where the struggle for survival had
tended to displace all activities of
leisure and to levelsoff social stra-
ta, depriving the arts of their noble
Thus America was endowed with
all the equipment necessary to
become a great nation in many
ways, but was spared centuries of
struggle toward democracy which
might have-permitted the devel-
opment of a native artistic tradi-
tion. We have rather assimilated
the already existing 'European tra-
dition and <begun only - now- to
elaborate on it after our own-
fashion. But insofar .as artistic
development has come abotit here,v
.it has benefitted the many rath-
er than the few.-
This was not true with opera,
however, at least until the present.
Recipient of a Fulbright
Award in 1952-53'for study at
the Royal Conservatory in Brus-
sels, Harry Dunscombe is now
working toward the degree of

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