News From Terre Haute, Indiana

News Columns

March 7, 2011

The office boy who became a poet

TERRE HAUTE — I made up my mind when I moved my home office out of the house last summer that I’d organize some of my books, that I’d categorize and catalogue them in a way that would help me find the one I wanted when I wanted it. I can’t say it worked out as well as I had hoped. Already, I have the overflow stacked on the floor and shoved into the spaces where previous tenants once lived. Gradually, expediency is replacing order, so fiction and non-fiction, biographies and novels, are scandalously co-mingling on my shelves.

I did, however, manage to reserve spots closest to my desk for the books that are the closest to me in other ways, and I doubt if they’re going to be reshuffled much over the years. Nearly a dozen of them are by Edgar Guest, the Everyman poet of whom most of us breathing these days have never heard. But for much of the last century, Guest was a household name, a man who published more than 20 books of poetry, had a long-running radio show and who appeared on television. He also attracted critics who considered his folksiness and humor as overly sentimental and hackneyed. One source I found in anticipation of writing this story said, “Guest’s verse reflects the sensibility of his era, and is hardly read today.”Nonetheless, I have enjoyed reading Guest’s poetry over the years. His is a comforting voice in a world that I fear has gone mad, and I find myself occasionally sitting in the lamplight of my space reading from one of his slender blue volumes.

I first read a fragment of one of Guest’s poems years and years ago, and in those days, before the Internet and search engine quick hits, I typed up the few lines I had on a creaky old typewriter and placed them under the glass of my office desk not knowing who wrote them. In time, I discovered Guest’s authorship, that the poem was called “Success,” and that those words would begin an off-again, on-again search for his old books. That is still a bit of a passion for me. The third stanza of the poem is still a favorite:

Text Only | Photo Reprints
News Columns
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Raw: Man Fatally Shot During Police Standoff Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Raw: Tesla Delivers First China Cars 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Raw: Sinkhole Swallows Part of Fla. Yard Raw: Royal Couple Tours Uluru in Australia Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting Hong Kong Residents Help Create Green Roofs Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
NDN Video
Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down Rise of the Milkbots TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl High school, College Drug Ring Busted In Montgomery County High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Raw: Keflezighi, Jeptoo Win Boston Marathon Teen hitchhikes in wheel well of flight from California to Hawaii Lindsay Lohan's Jaw-Dropping Secret President Sends Message To Boston And Marathon Runners LA Pastor Attracts Churchgoers with Pot Lauren Stoner Shows Off Her Incredible Bikini Body
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity