In a comment to my last post (link), the NY Crank says he has no memory of introducing me to Rolfe Humphries. I had speculated as much: funny what sticks, and what does not, after all these years.
Crank also recalls that we shared an enthusiasm for Don Marquis, of "Archy and Mehitabel" fame. He's got that one right (and once again, I suspect have been he who did the introduction). Marquis certainly was a great discovery for me as a 19-year-old. And unlike many discoveries from that period, I'd say he stands the test of time. Better than that, I suspect that Marquis is one of those writers who gets better with wear-- underrated because he is funny. He's not a great poet--he's not precisely a poet at all, even though he writes in a kind of verse. But he has a sensibility, at once fey and astringent, that is as satisfying now as when I first read him (I'd put him light years ahead of, say Ogden Nash, who today strikes me as just too cutsey for words).
Crank mentions Marquis on Shakespeare. Yes; I only dimly remember the one he quotes, but I often think about his account of how Archy the Cockroach met Pete the Parrot--the Parrot who used to live in the Mermaid Tavern where he met the Bard himself (I may steal from it in an anticipated Shakespeare post). I also like the one about the time when Archy visited the Met and talked about the Mummy. After an eternity of sand and dust, the Mummy was dying (sic?) for a beer. And Archy had tell him that he'd wound up in America under prohibition.
Well, well, said the Mummy (I quote from memory), my enemies always told me I would wind up in Hell someday, and it looks as if they had the right dope.
Don Marquis is one of those authors I try to inflict on the younger generation at the right age. But one of the high points of parenthood was the day my daughter--I think she was 15--came home to say "you'll never believe this hilarious poet I just found"--and so discovered him for herself ("Oh, we''ll never rest on Everest, my Himalaya honey"). Oddly enough, I'm not having so much luck with the next generation. I've tried it on a couple of housebroken teenagers who smile politely and turn away. But the daughter's own kids are preteens, so maybe I still have a chance (or maybe she intends to do the obsequies herself?).