collective mind, as she put it. But atnleast prose is for everybody. Poetry isnnot.nNew poems are sometimes new halfna century later, as is the case with mynown “The Groundhog,” or “The Furynof Aerial Bombardment.” Both are oldnbut have lasted. Take a look at SirnArthur Quiller-Couch’s Oxford Booknof English Verse. Flip back to the lastnhalf-inch of pages, where you’ll find anvast collection of poems by somebodyncalled Anonymous. Mr. Anonymous,nabout two thousand years old, or atnleast a thousand, wrote some of thennewest poems in that book.nOn Saturday, March 26, 1988, atnThomas Center, Gainesville, anplaque was unveiled commemoratingnRobert Frost, who had lived here partntime, in the winter, for 15 years ornmore starting in the early 30’s. He hadngiven readings at the university, and hisnwife died here. In his citation PresidentnReitz said in part, “He has shown usnthat it is possible to be both subtle andnplain, both original and traditional,nboth direct and richly textured, bothnengaging and serious.”nIn my Collected Poems: 1930-1986nthere is one entitled “Worldly Failure,”nwhich reads as follows:nI looked into the eyes ofnRobert FrostnOnce, and they werenunnaturally deep.nSet far back in the skull, as farnback in the earth.nAn oblique glance made themnlook even deeper.nHe stood inside the door onnBrewster Street,nLooking out. I proffered himnan invitation.nWe went on talking for an hournand a half.nTo accept or not to acceptnwas his question.nWhether he wanted to meetnanother poet;nHe erred in sensing somenintangible slight.nHard for him to make andemocratic leap.nTo be a natural poet you havento be unnaturally deep.nWhile he was talking he wasnlooking out.nBut stayed in, sagacitynbetter indoors.nHe became a metaphor forninner devastation.nToo scared to acceptnmy invitation.nThere is a story behind the poem. Atnthe time Frost was living on BrewsternStreet near Lake View Avenue in Cambridge,nwhere my mother-in-law lives.nMy wife, Betty, and I were living at 10nHilliard Place. On Betty’s suggestion Inwent over to see Frost and invited himnto dinner on Saturday night to meet anBritish poet friend of ours. He said henwould be glad to come. We talkednoutside his door for a long time. Bettynhad told me to show him a review, Inthink now it was a British one, of ancurrent book of mine, which was positivenbut not all praise, to see what henthought of it. Upon perusing this Frostnsaid he never read reviews of his ownnwork, and paid no attention to them.nOn Thursday Frost phoned to say hencould not come on Saturday as he hadnbeen called out of town, or some suchnexcuse.nLater we found out that the lady whontook care of Frost, Kay Morrison, hadninformed him that the poet in questionncoming for dinner Saturday night wasnKathleen Raine, one of the best Englishnpoets, a contemporary of mine fromn1927 to 1929 at Cambridge. Frostnremembered at once that Raine hadnwritten a review of his poetry in thenLondon Times Literary Supplementnthat was not 100 percent praise. It wasnpositive, but maybe only 90 percent.nSo Frost refused to dine with her at ournhouse. He could not stand any criticnsaying anything against his poetry,neven if only slightly dispraising.nHere is a stanza from “Vignettes” innmy book The Long Reach (1984):nThe day after the inaugurationnof President KennedynWe went to a cocktail party atnthe Coxes,nNeighbors in Georgetown nearn34th Street.nThe Hindemiths were there,nI had not known composers,nThe talk was all of thennew America.nRobert Frost was there. I wentnup to him eagerly, saying,n”I hear you talked with thenPresident this morning.nWhat did he say?” Instant reply,n”I did all the talking.”nThis is a direct, true statement, nonsubterfuges, no ambiguity. Is this betternthan the complexities, artifice, and aestheticndistance in the other poem? Is thenreality of poetry aided or lessened byncomparison with actual facts behind anpoem? If you love the poetry shouldnyou care about the biography?nRichard Eberhart is the author mostnrecently of Collected Poems, reviewednin the January Chronicles. He livesnin Maine.nSTAGEnnnBreak a Legnby Katherine DaltonnIn 1963, when Tyrone Guthrie producednhis first season at the newnGuthrie Theater in Minneapolis, thenStates did not have much in the way ofnregional theater. In a country whosentwo most famous actors are, respectively,na President and a presidential assassin,nRonald Reagan and John WilkesnBooth — two actors who, in othernwords, became famous for somethingnother than their art—it seems inevitablenthat a British director would foundnwhat is one of our premier theaters. (Atnleast we are not alone. Guthrie foundednCanada’s de facto national theater, thenStratford Festival Theater in London,nOntario, as well.)nIt was 25 years ago last May that thennew Guthrie opened with Hamlet, andnits 25 th season these past nine monthsnincluded a production of Hamlet asnwell, directed by Artistic Director GarlandnWright. Hamlet is such a difficultnplay not only because of the language,nand the length, but because its mainncharacter, the man who must carry thenshow, is not always attractive. Wrightnpurposefully chose to play Hamlet verynyoung, choosing the American actornZjelko Ivanek for the lead. Ivanek is innhis early 30’s but is slight enough tonpass for a teenager. It is a soundnFEBRUARY 1989/49n