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LEE KEEDICK presents STOODDARD KING Poet, Humorist, and Columnist Author of Grand Right and Left, What the Queen Said Lyric writer of The Long, Long Trail, the home song of six million soldiers Stoddard King is a jester of royal descent—Vachel Lindsay Figure Photo by Pirie MacDonald Exclusive Management of LEE KEEDICK, 475 Fifth Avenue, New York A Distinguished American Humorist ANOTHER humorist comes to us out of the West. Mark Twain and Eugene Field first raised their voices in Missouri; James Whitcomb Riley and Bill Nye were western figures. American literature, it seems, recruits her best humorists from the great open spaces, where men have room to get a perspective. And now, from the State of Washington, comes Mr. Stoddard King, to take his place among authentic American humorists. He rightfully belongs to this choice group, peculiar to our own soil. They do not shine for ribald hilarity, in the manner of the classic humorists of European literature. They are distinguished rather by quaint, philosophical friendly fun, and are quite capable of turning, from time to time, to verse of unabashed sentiment. An Indwelling Poetry Mr. King is the go-ahead-and-be-funny man writing daily for the Spokane Spokesman-Review, and he has turned out in routine course prose pieces as comic as anything in our literature. But he has also written verse of outstanding merit, and within the last year, two volumes of his poetry have been published in New York. Short pieces in flawless metrical form, these verses read to ear and eye as so many lightsome jests. Yet, quite often, the heart feels in them an indwelling poetry—something of yearning, of wonder, or of pure song. Their quality and merit can have no better appraisal than that of Vachel Lindsay, the poet, who writes: Royal Wit Stoddard, the King of the revels of Spokane, is a jester of royal descent. He is to be compared to Falstaff, in the taverns, to Touchstone in the Forest of Arden. He is the grave digger in Hamlet, the porter listening at the gate in Macbeth. He is like the jester in King Lear, faithful to Cordelia. He is like Ariel, in the Tempest. Ninety of the pieces in his book are royal wit, and nine of them are big poems. Reads With Inimitable Style Though still a young man, Mr. King is a familiar figure on the lecture platform and in print in the West. Already known to millions as the writer of the home song of the Great War—The Long, Long Trial, his introduction in person to the rest of the country was bound to come sooner or later. His appearance in a lecture tour will enable his hearers to get the best possible presentation of his carefully fashioned verses, for he reads from his own poetry with the inimitable style of a born actor. But they will discover also the rich and inspiring personality behind the deceptively gay trifles—a personality that is destined year by year to become known and loved by an ever-increasing circle of Americans. Ample Material to Draw On Mr. King's reading will draw, ad lib., from ample stores of material in his books. Among verses of sheer nonsense, he will find The Canaries and the Whales, and Radiowocky. Contrasting with this are such poems of veritable human nature as The Weaker Sex, and Sortie Nuptiale. Shrewd criticisms of American art and architecture are implied in From the Masters, Art in the Home, and The Fifty-seven Lamps of Architecture. Satires on the fictitious West are offered by one who knows the true American West, in such lively flings as The Old Settler Reports, and Cowboy Song: New Style. Persons who shake their heads in wonder at so-called progress, may shake their sides in laughter at the exposés in such verses as For the Record, Radio, or the Wonders of Science, and For Posterity. Literature, American customs, business buncombe, and the still-surviving American home all receive new gleams of illumination from these collections. And, in the prose selections there are sketches which, as abiding pictures of comic situations, find no superiors in humorous literature. Among these, people will ask to hear and to hear again next year, First Prize, A Shetland Pony, The Non-Vanishing Race, My Commencement Address, How I Bagged My Book-Agent, Art in the Home, and A Paper of Viburnums. The Conscience of a Fine Spirit The humor of these pieces has a cumulatively winning effect, for they do not harp on one string, but play over the whole field of life, and gradually reveal an urbane, kindly, inspiring attitude, which lifts up, without the slightest suggestion of preachment. Likewise, in direct appearance, the author, as speaker, grows upon his listeners. A man of vivid, kindling personality, he presents nothing of the type of the jester or the clown, yet gives a warmth of humor, of kindliness, of fun, which reaches out and takes the hearer into the circle. This combination of dignity and of friendly intimacy is the product of the conscience of a fine spirit. He will not be funny at any price. He never scolds, never lets his voice become strident, and he confesses in one of his verses to a pillow-haunting fear of writing in bad taste. He never lets down, and he resorts neither to cheap sentimentality to win the glycerine tear, nor to the hastily forgotten joke to win the easy laugh. In two whole books of collected writings, there is not a single breach of delicate taste, not a single unkind flick at persons. A gentle but vigorous, sane but hearty, and withal a loving revealer of our faults and follies, is Stoddard King. A Scholar in Trivia Mr. King is more than just another newspaper humorist, he is already a sound literary figure, a scholar in trivia. Not only is he a master of verse form, and a reliable critic. He is capable of producing, in connection with the visit to Spokane of Marshal Foch, a poetical address, in the Marshal's own language, called L'Ouest Sauvage, which must have surprized this visitor to the Savage West. At Yale University, where he took his degree, Mr. King finished eighth in his class, came out with the coveted Phi-Beta key, and membership in the Elizabethans. He was editor-in-chief of the Yale News, and member of the Board of the Yale Record. After leaving college he was associate Editor of Harper's Weekly. Yet, all through college, and for years before and after, he was devoting himself to the most exacting forms of verse,—the light humorous type. Serious poetry he says, may be free verse or unrhymed couplets, the thought being more important than the form. But not so with the comic. This department of poetry must be flawless in metre, and in rhyme, absolutely rigid in form. The content is so delicate that it can hold together and present itself in irridescent colors only if arranged in a pattern or design, like a crystal, or in a rounded completeness like a soap-bubble. Mr. King practised these forms for ten years before he ever offered a verse to a national magazine. Then, Harper's, Life, and Saturday Evening Post each bought the first things he sent them. He had mastered his medium. Speaks for America Although reared in the West, and for many years identified with it, Mr. King is not parochial. His education in the East, as well as his maintained cultural contacts with the whole current of national life and thought, enables him to speak for America. His copy might appear in any local press in the country. Yet he takes a pride in his newspaper connection, and prefers to be known as the columnist for the Spokane Spokesman-Review. For twenty years he has been connected with this journal, and has held all of its editorial positions. For the last five years, however, he has held a privileged position as daily columnist, retained, but not chained, to do a daily stint of verse and humor. it is perhaps the best means that America has to offer of subsidizing the poet, so that he will be free to express himself without gnawing commercial cares. And that a daily stint is not fatal to art is shown in the best of examples, the collected papers of Addison and Steele. Stoddard King is safely on the way to an established position in the American heart.
|Title||Stoddard King: poet, humorist, and columnist|
|Topical Subject (LCSH)||
|Personal Name Subject||King, Stoddard|
|Digital Collection||Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century|
|Contributing Institution||University of Iowa. Libraries. Special Collections Dept.|
|Archival Collection||Redpath Chautauqua Collection|
|Rights Management||Educational use only, no other permissions given. U.S. and international copyright laws may protect this digital image. Commercial use or distribution of the image is not permitted without prior permission of the copyright holder.|
|Contact Information||Contact the Special Collections Dept. at The University of Iowa Libraries: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/contact/index/|
|Number of Pages||4|
|Digitization Specifications||Scanned at 600 dpi, 32-bit color. Master image available in tiff format.|