A Biography of the Book

I was born and brought up in the white mountains of Maine, a mostly rural area. I lived in a small town through the sixth grade, and then I moved to a farm in the country.

I started to write essays early in my schooling, and did so throughout high school, college, and graduate school ending with a doctoral dissertation in classical philology, a rather long essay. I continued writing essays throughout my career, tests for talks, articles for journals, chapters for text books, reports, and position papers. It is fitting that the last section of Crumbs Cast upon the Current is a selection of my most recent essays.

I started writing poetry in college; I remember one in ancient Greek and with appropriate metre that is luckily lost to time. I actually became seriously involved with poetry when I taught Vergil at Phillips Exeter. It was important to have students learn the various figures of speech or tropes, and I thought that they should be presented in short compass in their native habitat in Vergil, dactylic hexameters. Accordingly, I wrote thirteen lines of didactic content including thirty-three tropes (not including allusion). Later I encapsulated this in a narrative epyllion. There were several other Latin poems, but perhaps a bit more before I retired, I started to write poems in English.

The poems are fittingly the second section since my last effort was to write short stories, mostly factual about my youth, just before the birth of my first grandchild. These stories form the first section of Crumbs. The sections occur in the reverse order of their origin, because I decided to present them in the order of what I considered their general accessibility. There are some connecting themes, some more or less obvious like the trips or journeys, others perhaps less not so salient. For instance the mood of humor in the stories and some of the poems like the epigrams becomes more pointed, and in the essays is more cerebral. Another common thread is that of making a point in each of the three genres, most obviously, of course, in the essays. In particular, within each of the three genres I try to discuss the genre itself, directly or indirectly. After all the main motive and motif of the book is reflection.

Meaning of the Vase