‘The Kingdom of Home’ by Professor Stout (writing as Mr. Heustis)

Commentary by Tark Mackintosh

‘THE KINGDOM OF HOME’ After his mortifying and highly publicized removal from The Goldstrikers poetry club in January 1934 at the hands of his nemesis Dr. Algernon ‘Poots’, Professor Stout made his infamous Declaration Against the Glitter Crowd, a 154-page manifesto that distanced its author from the glamour and hullaballoo of the popular Goldstrikers, and our poet retired from all public engagements for the space of several years. Yet the artist’s sublime muse could not be suppressed, and the good Professor continued writing and publishing under the nom de plume of Reed Heustis, which was confirmed in Professor Stout’s 1948 autobiography to mean ‘A sugarcane clearing at dusk’.

curtains…fireplace The setting is a cozy parlour, such as the one in Professor Stout’s own home.

griefs…woes Professor Stout was both physically and psychologically humiliated by The Goldstrikers, who were known as the blackshirts of California modernists in the 30s.

children… / their daddy According to Professor Stout’s own biographer, Ada Potter Barclay, Professor Stout was a bachelor his entire life, yet perhaps one that pined for a more traditional life: ‘with me, for example, and a bevy of small ones, not just the occasional drunken grope’ (see Barclay 1961, 83). The scene does however SOUND tediously real.

dollars Professor Stout managed to keep soul and body together for many years by teaching only one class a week.

our Kingdom is here The poet is not going out in public today. He even had Ada Potter do his grocery shopping for him.

gay The sense is, homosexual.

love…love No idea what is going on here. But to be sure, these are extremely depressing lines.

Monarch The image is of Professor Stout as King of the Kingdom, his house. Perhaps a nod to the evangelical Christian concept of Kingdom Dad: a head of the household who does everything attired in a purple robe, and is stoic though he yearns for love, but whose children make him pancakes on his birthday.

from whence Hyperurban redundancy: whence already means from where, so from whence means from from where. Perhaps there is a clever code embedded in this line whose meaning the intervening years have obscured. Fram-fram was a rum-and-milk cocktail popular in the late 20s. The meaning may well have been a querelous, Where is my frothy fram-fram, little Ada Potter?

work-a-day parts Roles beneath the dignity of sons of a Monarch (Kingdom Kids).

evil winds The image is of a preposterously flatulent world, out there beyond the clean and cozy safety of Profesor Stout’s study. The evil gasses may stand for literal bad hygiene, or perhaps the words of the soughing auditorium, filled with detestable Goldstrikers, and their gobbling poopy spawn.

father That is, Monarch of Kingdom Stout, Professor Stout himself.

knee An improvised rocking horse. Repeated here after line 4, it rhymes with both glee (line 3) and be (line 17), a veritably bounced-upon, rocked-upon image. Professor Stout remained reticent about his diction in this particular instance: why he did not write free and tea respectively, which are patently more poetic choices, was a secret he took to his grave.

help other men’s boys The sense is in no way of helping, but in fact the opposite: Professor Stout’s fantasy is of a clutch of munchkins raised to bodyguard and blackshirt his own Kingdom, to humiliate and physically restrain the likes of Dr. Poots and his poetaster goons. In the [not universally received in its own day] Declaration Against the Glitter Crowd Professor Stout implores ‘of the generations to come, to guard with painted lens [sic] the tidal wave of false and glittering words, to vanquish those knights in fool’s gold by turning their airy spikes and lances with manly hearts’ (DAGC, 68). In other words, Dr. Poots, we hear not what ye mutter.