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December 02, 1923 - Image 1

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ICHOLAS Vachel Lindsay Words by has avoided Amy Lowell's fault of
is not the great poet of LAWRENCE H. CONRAD writing upon themes with which she
Amsericahst he is the
Amlyioa, of hi te Drawing by has only a superficial acquaintance;
only one of his race he has avoided Carl Sandburg's fault
who is strictly true to of publishing in haste and regretting
poetry's oldest tradition. at leisure; he has never had to go
He is a vagabond and _aIout, as Louis Untermeyer has, in
not a business man; he "Osearch us the material for a poem.
is a singer and not a lie is as calm, as kindly, as lovable
typewriter artist; he is a missionaryla man as Robert Frost, though he is
-to life and not a critic of it. In him another kind of poet.
is minstrelsy raised to its highest His art s no marriage of poetry
power. In his works are black men and music; indeed, he is not a musi-
and gypsies and spirits; racial traits cian at all. ie sings chiefly to the
and pr mal instincts are expressed in tune of revival hymns, never using
his songs. He uses sweet words: he more than a few bars of music to a
Is a poet poem. Within the limits of voice al-
'His head is large and ie carries it lowed hm by these few bars, he rang-
high, so that his broad, smooth face es at will. You hardly think of him
catches and reflects the light. His eye- as singing at all. It is more like an
l . P e effort to keep sweetness in the voice
lids are heavy and sleepy; his hair is in order to make pleasant a story that
dark and rather long, carelessly push- in oer to . marsna ko th
ed over to the right; altogether, hiss ,,hant is beig told. It is more like the
is such a head as one sees thrust out Curehant of a prophet caught in the rap-
of a front door in the early morninglteof revelation.
for the purpose, let us say, of fetch- i:s art is something a little apart
ing in the milk. In the routine of life from the full art of poetry. Lindsay's
be is dull, deliberately stupid, recog-It own term "the higher vaudeville" is
nizing that nine things out of ten do a modest way of describing it. It
not matter. It is only the deeply hu-" g( gives entertainment of the highest or-
can things that can stir his inner ,der; it leaves a feeling of toleration,
) !.a feeling of pleasantness toward hu-
manity; it draws life's shell in closer
When he Is reciting his poetry, he to life's core. For the most part, how-
goes into a trance; he is transform- olf' oe o h otprhw
ge. nTe gys fies si i nisf- VAChEL LINDSAY ever new the school with which he is
ed. The gypsy fiddles sing in hisoftenest mentioned, Lindsay is a poet
ears, the rhythm of the savage tom- stand alone when his personality and f Vachel Lindsay from being prolific; of the oldest order,
tom or of an old Evangelistic hymn his voice are not by to support it. at the same time it has kept him, of-
catches his arms and his legs and This manner of composing has kept ten, from making a fool of himself. He Time was when a poet rose to his
moves them, drives them to action. rank by virtue of the fact that his
isheaistiedr fesrthemrtbactissongs touched something common,
His head is tipped farther back, his - oieth- cnra-i umnlie Tm
eyes are closed, his face glows like asehentaldin-suman we
w sas when a deep-souled ian went
face in a stained-glass window. He about among his fellows and sang,
stumbles about, shouting, waving,e n o ra D u se
even bumping into things; he is lost ugiving thine a nice feeling toward
to te wrld Fieis eiter bistouscommon things, giving them an exalt-
to the world. He is neither boistrous ed feeling toward holy things. Now,
nor crude; always be is nerely true with our business-men poets, our
tithe spirit of the huiman thing he Is lawyer poets, and even our office-boy
singing. MAXWELL NOWELS poets, that time seems to have come
When his recital is over, he is the o an end. There is left only one true
softest, kindliest, most benign of be- When an Italian actress, past her course to those pragmatic souls who mnstrel of a higher order: Vachel
ings. lie is not nervous, but his sixtieth year, speaking only her native think that greatness depends on the Lindsay.
hands seem still to be vibrating out tongue plays a Norwegian piece be- efficiency of the trumpets and drums
through them. His hair is disarrang- fore an American audience of three of self-advertisement this seems La Gioconda one expects to attend the
ed, and clings to his damp forehead. thousand-many of whom have paid freakish. But in spite of our own play to hear shrieking and raving and
A drop of sweat rolls down his nose. over a hundred dollars to sit a quar- conviction that Duse would never witness sensuous love scenes culmin-
tut his soul is stilled, quieted, satis- ter of a mile from the stage, it might stoop to such cheapness, misgivings ating in a profusion of bloodshed, he
fled. The sleepy eyes are wide open be taken as conclusive proof of a great plague us. Will not her pathetically will be disappointed with the Duse in-
and round; they look at you and see many things: that Art is cosmopoli- unobtrusive wrinkles, her iron gray terpretation. She avoids sensational-
you; they do not look over your tan, that Art is universal, that Art is hair clash somewhat with our con- ism with almost classic distaste.
shoulder. His smile is humble and immortal, that Art is expensive, that ception of the lithe Ellida in The The artistry of Duse is all the more
sweet; he can understand why you Americans are displaying their gulli- Lady from the Sea? Was blind Anna pure from the fact that she regards
enjoyed the recital, for he has en- bility more gracefully than of yore. in D'Annunzio's Citta Morta so aged, Drama subjectively; she is a part of
joyed it himself, :!But when the actress in question is or Sylvia in La Gioconda so relent- it, not its complement. A tone poem
Lindsay has seen life on that level Eleanora Duse, how childish it is to lessly plain? This again is Duse. To on paper is meaningless. The execu-
whereon it is lived and not merely talk of proof! Granted it is the pen- ler the tricks of the raft are ant- finn is all. It is also meaningless if
acted. To him, what we call pictur- alty of the actor's art to be evanes- thema. It is as if she had said: I one becomes so intent on watching
esque or romantic is only real. He cent, it is its glory that it cannot be act. Forget that I am old; watch and the player's manual and pedal man-
has wrung his poems out of the faces, reduced to formulae. With Duse this see if age has diminished my powers. ipulation that he forgets to listen to
,hard and soft, hungry and smug, that is true to a greater degree than with Think of my appearance in the Eliza- the composition. Duse purposely cre-
he has seen. While he is travelling any other actress. After all the bethan manner - merely as stage ates this distracting obstacle for her-
and while he is idle, he hums life blurbs and ecstasies about her sub- property. Imagine me labeled 'A self by wilfully ignoring certain ex-
over and over. When a bar here or lime Sorrow, her inimitable idiosyn- Young Woman,' then give yourself up pected norms of technique whose very
there strikes his fancy, he hums it crasies have subsided, there still re- to my interpretation." absence makes them conspicuous. A
over and over. Soon a melody grows; usain myriads of qualities undescrib- It is wrong to assume that Duse lesser artist would undoubtedly be
soon there is something that he can ed and indescribable. There is al- would go even this far to conciliate liampered by this distraction; Duse
sing to an audience. He sings it. His ways a mysterious, unfathomable re~ her audience. Such might be her has overcome it.

own heart tells him its success. He mainder which is simply-Duse. thought but she would never plead Probably the most noteworthy of
sings again, in a different key, in a, Now Duse is again with us,-prob- for herself. Her indifference to her Duse's describable qualities is her
different way. He revises and re- ably for the last time, for she is no audience amounts almost to antipathy, power of interpretation. What she
builds as he goes about, often making longer young-performing for us, or -or perhaps better--to disdain. Coni- herself cannot find in the character
a lightning change in the midst of a rather, permitting us to see her per- ing from a theatrical family, luving as she does not attempt to put into it.
recital. And the audience never sus- form. With a repertory practically she has her entire life on the stage,: Were she to decide that Paula Tan-
pects. When his song reaches its best unchanged we are confronted by ,a the earlier part of which was by no queray was notself-centered butaltru-
singing stage, he knows what to do. person very much changed. Duse means free from hardship and sorrow,; istic, we should have from her an al-
He packs it down to half its length, makes no concession to the custom- she may be pardoned if her attitude truistic Paula Tanqueray who would
':squeezing the Juice out of It," before ary foibles of the actor. She uses no toward the stage has a tinge of bitter- convince us of the fact. Stock exhibi-
publishing it as a poem. He concen- make-up, is indifferent to costuming, ness and her regard for the audience tions mean nothing to her. She may
trates the whole thing so that it can and never appears at rehearsals. Of a shade of cynicism. If after reading (Continued on Page Seven)


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