Frost Chides Metaphors, MIT, Footnotes in Speech
Octogenarian Poet Lectures
Undergraduates sat in the aisles and professors on window sills as Robert Frost '01 recited some of his own poetry and commented upon himself and others in New Lecture Hall yesterday afternoon.
In the program sponsored by the Morris Gray Poetry Fund, Frost spoke at random about conversation ("My education") and metaphors ("My kind of foolin'"), and what science attempts to prove ("How she differs from what she's like.").
He then took a poke at M.I.T.'s decision to allow undergraduates to take half their courses in the humanities: "They are now allowed to become 50 per cent cultured."
The 81-year-old poet said that one of his scientific friends claims "A true poet wouldn't say anything." As the audience of nearly 1,000 laughed, Frost softly added, "God bless the true poet, I say."
To explain why he himself wrote, Frost cited a line in his The Tufts of Flowers, ". . . .from sheer morning gladness at the brim."
The inspiration for another poem, Provide, Provide was a strike of the University's scrubbing staff. The work begins, "The witch that came (the withered hag) to wash the steps with pail and rag. . ."
Frost also read two short poems on California, a new work inspired by a walk at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and another about Gus, a stray dog who came to visit.
Frost chided poets who write to make readers read learned footnotes. Chaucer and Shakespeare, he noted, did not use them. He considered his own metaphors relatively simple, but urged readers to hear more than the "vowels, the consonants, and the syllables."