Mr. Purdy-- The memorial service came off beautifully. Perfect weather -- 70 degrees and a breeze. For 90 minutes, people famous and obscure spoke of Guy's erudition (a word once or twice pronounced correctly) but primarily of Guy's kindnesses. His prodigious letter writing, to hundreds of correspondents, was alluded to often. Highlights for this attendee were (1) Paul Prather's piece from the Lexington paper, written at the time of Davenport's death, read in his absence (a death in his family kept him away) by Bonnie Jean Cox. It's a beautiful piece centering on how Guy saw promise in the young Prather, and gave him the sort of encouragement that lasts a lifetime; and (2) Nikky Finney's eloquent poem about preparing to live in Guy's house, a case of a poet feeling the presence of her poet predecessor in these digs. It was perfect; look for it to be published somewhere.
Kenneth Haynes, presently of Brown University, also attended the service and read Greek and Latin passages from the classics. The Fessor was highly complimentary of Haynes's classical scholarship. Following his compliments, he would sometimes add, with a tone indicating the profoundest irony, that Haynes was a Baptist!
The Fessor was not at all pleased with the cuts to the story "Wo es War, Soll ich Werden" that he had been called upon to provide for The Death of Picasso : New & Selected Writing (Shoemaker & Hoard, 2003). The Finial Press, manned by aficionados Eisenman and A. Doyle Moore, offered to do a handmade limited edition of the original version of the story. The book was finished shortly before his death. Copies may still be available.
The following arrived in one of my e-mail boxes from another friend of some eight or nine years, Terry Walton. We have shared crying towels after each of the previous two presidential elections. Actually, we spent election night of 2000 simultaneously surfing the channels of two televisions and following the Internet coverage at Terry and Kathy's house. Terry and his wife Kathy moved up to Gainsville, Florida, several years ago now.
Terry has a dedicated mailing list which he keeps informed and entertained -- most recently, as follows:
We certainly learned a lesson from 9/11 -- right?
The following was excerpted from the Washington Post blog:
That's an image that isn't easy to forget: As official Washington bugged out Wednesday in the face of a possible terrorist attack, President Bush was on a bike ride and wasn't told a thing. See yesterday's column for background. John Roberts reports on the CBS Evening News: "The fact no one informed him that the first lady had been whisked to a bunker, the vice president moved and the government's emergency plan launched, would seem extraordinary. The White House insists the president didn't need to know."
Possible reasons they did not tell Bush:
(1) They were worried he would fly out to Omaha again.
(2) Without "My Pet Goat," this president cannot cope with a crisis.
(3) In case of national emergency, only essential personnel should be informed.
(4) Bush had gotten so used to manipulating the alert status of this country for cynical political purposes that he had forgotten that there might be a real threat.
(5) Bush and Rove don't worry because "the more damage done to the country,the more chances for us to seize control."
(6) Bush was busy interviewing his top choices for the next seat on the Supreme Court, John Bolton and Kenneth Lay, and did not want to be disturbed.
(7) Condy Rice decided that the warning of imminent attack was an "historical document."
(8) Dick Cheney is the most arrogant president we've ever had.
(9) They thought Bush would demand that we invade another country -- probably France, because it's so close.
(10) They figured God would tell him.
He is, of course, a moderate Democrat.
- Guy Davenport's Memorial Service Was Held This Morning. "The Fessor, for his part, seemed to be fascinated by my marginal, clapped-together existence and entertained by my etymologies and observations on colorful locals."
- Het Nieuve Wereldbeeld: the Magical World of Guy Davenport. "There is not a Puritan molecule in this perpetual universe that isn't instantly and gloriously made at least curious."