Victory Day Parade

The full video can be seen here:

The New York City Victory Parade of 1946, held on January 12, 1946 to celebrate the victorious conclusion of the Second World War. The parade was led by 13,000 men of the 82nd Airborne Division under General James M. Gavin, followed by a detachment of Sherman tanks, jeeps, and self-propelled howitzers, and accompanied by a fly-by of glider towing C-47’s. A ticker tape parade that was closely covered by the news, it began at Washington Square and marched up Fifth Avenue, and was reported to be four miles long. Present at the parade were New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey, New York City Mayor William O’Dwyer, and former New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Appearance: I appear at timestamp 10:15 as a six year old.


1. “82nd Division in Victory Parade” [RKO-Pathe] (0:00)

2. “New York Salutes Airborne Division Home From Europe” (3:25)

3. “82nd Invades New York: 5th Avenue Victory Parade Fills City” [Esso] (5:24)


1. “On the Square” by Frank A. Panella (1916) (0:00)

2. “U.S. Field Artillery March” by John Philip Sousa (1917) (3:00)

3. “National Emblem” by Edwin Eugene Bagley (1906) (5:44)

4. “Bravura” by Charles E. Duble (1918) (8:43) 5. “American Legion” by Charles Wesley Parker (1920) (11:39)

Johnson’s Legacy

The front page story in the New York Times on February 14th was titled Rescuing a Vietnam Casualty: Johnson’s Legacy, about Lyndon Johnson and how the Vietnam war obscured some of the President’s great achievements in social and racial issues.

In E Train to Masada, one of the main characters is a President of the United States in the year 1968, and how this fictional President is on the verge of a breakdown because of his inability to halt the Vietnam tragedy. The NYT story and my President are eerily similar, perhaps an example of art imitating life. Because of the bizarre request the fictional President makes of the Mad Man he drafts to write his farewell speech, some have wondered if new information has been revealed about the Johnson administration during those tumultuous 60’s. Perhaps. Perhaps not.

The Power of Poetry

I am on the Board of Trustees of West Chester University and in that capacity was asked to make a few comments at the annual Poetry Conference in June, which is the largest of its kind in the country.

When Kim asked me to say a few words representing the Board of Trustees, it got me thinking about this poetry conference, what it means for the university, and some of my own past, and what it means to dedicate your life to the arts, which most of you did, and I did not.

This conference is the largest of its kind in the country and serves to enhance the reputation of West Chester, with luminaries in the field from all over the world converging here at the university. But beyond that, it caused me to reflect back many years ago when I returned to New York after college and serving in the Marines, and took a couple of months off to decide whether to go to Dublin and live in a garret and write novels, or get in to advertising. I went on a couple of interviews, got a job, and 40 years flashed by.

Although the copywriters and art directors in creative departments of advertising agencies have been referred to as the artists and writers of industry, their creations, some of which become part of popular culture, serve to create profits for the client companies, as compared to writers of fiction and poets, who are seeking either a personal or universal truth.

When a group of people like you get together there is a different vibe in the room, than when business people get together, some of whom would sell their grandmothers for more profit.

I have noticed a similarity in what psychoanalysts do, and what poets and artists do.
Freud said, “it’s all in Doestoevsky”, by which I think he meant every human emotion he might deal with in psychoanalysis could be found in the novel.  He also once said to a patient in Vienna, “the best I can do is transform serious psychosis into ordinary human misery”.  Poets condense what it might take novelists 400 pages to express, and that to me, is the power of poetry.

And now, I am going to read a poem.

An Old Poet’s View from the Departure Platform


(On my eightieth birthday)


By Anne Stevenson



I can’t like poems that purposely muddy the waters,

That confuse in order to impress;

Or slink to the page in nothing but stockings and garters

To expose themselves and confess.


I wince at poems whose lazy prosodical morals

Beget illegitimate rhymes.

Instances of incest, singulars mating with plurals

Are not minor errors, they are crimes.


I wave off turbulent poems in which reason and feeling

Stand off like water and oil.

As if prose were for sense, poems for howling or squealing,

Steam-events thinking would spoil.


Professional poems in incomprehensible argot

Unsettle me more and more –

Words about words about words to pamper the ego

Of some theoretical bore.


I gaze over miles and miles of cut up prose,

Uncomfortable troubles, sad lives.

They smother in sand the fire that is one with the rose.

The seed, not the flower survives.