[1936 Ap. 3, 22:7]
SELECTING A POET LAUREATE
Mr. McGroarty, It is Feared, Is Not
Well Enough Known for the Job.
To the Editor of The New York Times:
Your news of a Congressional resolution "to make John Steven
McGroarty honorary poet laureate of the United
States of America" invites several questions.
Are we really to suppose that such an action would either further or establish a permanent poet laureateship for the United States? Or does this news merely signify an idle, empty honor of Congressional Record importance that affects only one poet
whose lines happen to have pleased the Presidential family?
The time would seem opportune for the inauguration of a poet laureateship but it hardly seems fitting for it to start with such a resolution as the one made by the Congressman from Montana; it might be moot point whether this first favored candida
te has given sufficient expression of American poetry to warrant being proposed for so signal an honor.
Who knows Mr. McGroarty? Where has his "The
Lady Eleanor" been
published? Why not give us more about this poet along with a few of his American poems?
If the New Deal wishes to interest itself with poetry in any permanent manner, let the Representatives call for other candidates; let them be careful that they do not rush into the plan without some open forum consistent with American traditions a
nd literary history. A nation-wide poll or count to suggest our Public Poet No. 1 would be of great interest as a beginning.
F. GARDNER CLOUGH,
Woodside, N. Y., March 31, 1936.