Waugh Elegy

A correspondent has called our attention to an earlier posting made by Patrick Kurp on a weblog called Anecdotal Evidence. This relates to a poem by L.E. Sissman, an American poet and critic, written in the 1960s on the occasion of Evelyn Waugh’s death. A 1972 article by Sissman in The Atlantic Monthly about Put Out More Flags (“…this triumphant, ordered, perhaps triumphant because ordered, exemplar of the art of fiction”), which Kurp had read earlier, had turned him into a Waugh fan, as he explains in his posting. Sissman’s poem, entitled “Elegy: Evelyn Waugh”) is quoted in full. Here’s a brief excerpt:

…impersonating an
Irascible, irrational old man
Full of black humors and still darker flights
Beyond aphotic shore on jetty nights
To madness real or bogus…

The poem was collected in the volume Scattered Returns (1969). Kurp’s article goes on to consider David Lebedoff’s The Same Man: George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh in Love and War published in 2008 at the time the article was originally written.

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