Thursday, April 8, 2021

A Newly Discovered Cline Poem

It's a rare event when I find a Cline publication that is entirely new to me. I think the last one was nearly ten years ago. But here is a new one, a poem entitled "Pizzicato" from The Gargoyle, April 1921, a humor magazine of the University of Michigan. Cline attended the University of Michigan from 1910 through 1913, as part of the Class of 1914, though he never graduated. A "pizzicato" is a musical term, referring to a passage played by plucking strings rather than by the drawing of a bow over the strings. This presumably refers to the rhythm of the poem.

The poem is oddly positioned on the page. Three stanzas are followed by a paragraph of "Dramatis Personae," which is in turn followed by a concluding stanza. Apparently the nine people described in the "Dramatis Personae" are to be equated with the "Nine gray ghosts" of the poem. Some of the figures are (or were) well-known, like the anti-vice crusader Anthony Comstock, who had died in 1915, and Jimmy Huneker, i.e., James Gibbons Huneker, a famous literary figure, a critic of art and books who died on 9 February 1921, barely two months before this poem appeared in print. One of the other figures is "My great uncle, Jake"-- and I can confirm that Cline did indeed have a great uncle Jacob Cline (1811-1899), the oldest brother of Cline's grandfather, David Hiram Cline (1827-1921), who was still alive when Leonard's poem was published (David Hiram Cline died on 21 July 1921).  

Enough background.  Here is the poem. Make of it what you will! 

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