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T.S. Eliot in Buffalo, NY – 1933

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T. S. Eliot in 1934

T. S. Eliot in 1934


The Bee newspaper – January 20, 1933

On January 26, 1933, T.S. Eliot, poet and critic, was in Buffalo, N.Y. to appear before an audience for a Fenton Foundation lecture held under the auspices of the University of Buffalo in the Twentieth Century Club at 595 Delaware Avenue. (see “Meaningful, Sonic Poetry Termed Best” Buffalo Courier-Express, 27 January 1933)

Between 1932 and 1933, T.S. Eliot wrote and presented a series of lectures while touring U.S. universities.  His topic while in Buffalo was Edward Lear and Modern Poetry.

Apparently Eliot was not happy with the Lear lecture.  T.S. Eliot was once asked why it was absent in his “Collected Essays.” He replied, “I am flattered that you should retain any interest in the lecture I gave on Edward Lear, and am therefore sorry to say that I destroyed the script of this and of a number of occasional lectures which I delivered in the United States in 1932-33.”

For more information on poetry, visit the Poetry Collection, a part of the University at Buffalo Libraries Special Collections.


T. S. Eliot, poet and critic,
contrasts style of various

There are two types of poetry, one in which the words are used simply to give meaning, the other in which the words are used for their sonic effect, but in great poetry the words do both. T. S. Eliot, English poet and critic, told an audience last night in his Fenton Foundation lecture held under auspices of the University of Buffalo at the Twentieth Century Club.

Mr. Eliot’s subject was Edward Lear and Modern Poetry, and one of his themes was that modern “unintelligible” poetry derives from Lear as one of its sources. Lear, a contemporary of Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, was a writer of light verse, in which there was more nonsense than sense, and in which the words were chosen not to convey ideas, but emotional effects—the emotion being of the whimsical sort.

Compares Carroll, Lear

Mr. Eliot drew this contrast between Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear: Carroll’s whimsy, with its detective story elements, its logical procedure, appeals to the adult element in children, whereas Lear’s poetry, which is more “poetic” and less, logical, appeals to the childish side of adults.

Quoting Walter Pater’s essay which makes the point that all the other arts only approach music which stands above them, Mr. Eliot made a defense for this sonic, musical, somewhat unintelligible poetry, which makes no pretense at sense, but pleases the ear, or creates an emotional effect.

Swinburne, another contemporary of Lear, also was held up for comparison to this effect: that Swinburne was an adolescent who pretended to be writing poetry with much meaning, though it was really meaningless, whereas Lehr didn’t even pretend to be making sense.

Following the lecture, Mr. Eliot, author of The Sacred Wood, and The Waste Land, read from his own poems.

Buffalo Courier-Express, January 27, 1933

The Police with XTC – 35 Years Ago

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The Police with XTC at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980On Sunday, January 20, 1980, The Police began its North American winter tour with a concert in Buffalo, New York in the Clark Gym on the University at Buffalo’s South Campus.

The Police were touring behind their second album “Regatta de Blanc.”  XTC was the opening band. Tickets for the concert were $4.50 for students.

The Police, already popular in the UK at the time, were labeled as “one of the bands to watch in the Eighties” in the United States.

A decent crowd saw the band put on a good show although drummer Stewart Copeland expressed disappointment with the U.B. fans wishing they were a British audience. “They’re louder, and they dance more.” (see “The Police” Spectrum Newspaper, 25 January 1980)

The Police would return to Buffalo, New York on February 22, 1984 as one of the most popular bands in the world playing in front of 17,000 frenzied fans at the old Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. By the end of the decade, The Police were ranked the #1 most played band on U.S. radio in the 1980′s.

The Police/XTC photos are part of the Prominent Visitors to Buffalo digital collection and come from the University Archives. This collection chronicles many of the politicians, musicians and activists that visited Buffalo in the past 50 years. Documentation from the University Archives includes photographs, coverage of events from the UB Spectrum student newspaper, and related ephemera.

Sting and Andy Summers of The Police at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980 Sting of The Police at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980 Sting of The Police at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980

XTC - Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, and Dave Gregory at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980 Colin Moulding and Dave Gregory of XTC at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980 XTC - Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, and Dave Gregory at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980

The Police with XTC at the Clark Gym on January 20, 1980

Prodigal Sun / The Spectrum, January 25, 1980Concert Review

The Police

by Pat Carrington

The Police opened their show last Sunday night in Clark Gym with a frantic rocker called “Next to You.” But it was their next number, “So Lonely,” that was more indicative of the style that has made them very well known in such a short time, that earned them status as “one of the bands to watch in the Eighties” -  a pop-flavored reggae group.

Bass guitarist/vocalist Sting’s voice is at its best when he’s singing reggae music. When he sings rock and roll, he sounds just like dozens of other vocalists. With the more soulful reggae, however, his voice gains a lilt and its high, clear tones are used. To someone familiar only with the Police cuts that receive airplay, this white reggae sound identifies the group.

After the show, when I asked drummer Stewart Copeland if he thought the group had in tended to “bring reggae to America,” I was surprised to see him look surprised at the question. “No, not at all. We just do something that turns us on. It feels natural- it’s something we’ve always done. We were surprised that no one else was doing it, actually. Of course, you hear a lot more of it in England. It’s part of the culture there.” (Reggae is primarily Jamaican music, and the reggae music played around London stems from the Jamaican roots of the city’s black population).

“What I like particularly about reggae is that you can experiment with it. I can take something that’s basically reggae (that is, until I get into it, because I change everything when I get into it) and do something different with it. It’s not like, say, jazz. Everything you can do with jazz has been done already.”

Though the Police may have eased into reggae as a style, they now do songs that are very intentionally Jamaican in flavor. The most obvious example of this occurred during their first encore Sunday. In the midst of a bopping-good “Can’t Stand Losing You,” Sting slowed the tempo to sing “Day-O, getting the audience to join in: ‘daylight come and me wan’ go home” . .. it added a nice touch, but since it was a cover song, it could hardly have been something that just crept into their music.

The Police is comprised of Andy Summers on guitar, Copeland and Sting. Their sound was quite intricate for a trio, owing to each member’s skill in playing their respective instrument. The acoustics in Clark Hall, amazingly enough, were excellent with the aid of an echo effect, Sting’s voice resounded through the packed hall, alternately silvery and mystical.

Summers was intent on his music, rarely crossing the stage. Sting was the showman, boogieing with his bass, exuding “Mod” good looks and a happy cProdigal Sun / The Spectrum, January 25, 1980harisma. At times, particularly during snatches of “Bo Diddley,” when instrumental backing was minimal, Sting wove a spell With his singing that hypnotized the audience.

But the people were never too hypnotized to wake up and dance. Where I was standing, jammed in the midst of the crowd a few feet from the stage, it became impossible to make any notes due to the bouncing up and down of everyone near me (not to mention my own movements). Copeland, though, expressed disappointment with the audience: “I wish it had been a British audience. They’re louder, and they dance more. They think less about the words, the nuances, than Americans do, but – well, they pogo over there, you know.” When asked if he really preferred that people didn’t listen to the words, he admitted that “each side has its good points.” In response to a Police quote from a recent magazine that “we can play a small club in the middle of nowhere if we want,” Copeland said that Clark was “just about the right size.”

The audience seemed to be somewhat confused about the identity of the Police. There were punked-out people present, dressed outrageously, complete with safety pins and cheap sunglasses. One screamed, “I was a punk before you were!” There’s very little that can be called punk in either the music or the persona of the Police, however, so if the people were attempting to dress for the occasion, they were a bit off. Many folks just sat in the stands, unwilling to participate, waiting to be entertained. The band performed that function admirably, but would have preferred some feedback in the form of dance.

Generally, live renditions of Police material were more expanded than their album versions, containing extended instrumental jams. This was especially the case with reggae tunes. “Truth Hits Everybody” was slowed down considerably, making it easier to understand the words (but harder to dance). The jams sounded so good that they never became boring, and Copeland put so much feeling into his drumming that he was in pain later. As far as the crowd was concerned, they showed by their spirited encore calls that it was worth it.

Prodigal Sun / The Spectrum, January 25, 1980

Peter McPherson, University at Buffalo football halfback – 1899

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Peter McPherson, University at Buffalo football halfback, 1899 season.

This wonderful photo, from the University Archives, is of Peter McPherson, a University at Buffalo football halfback, taken during the 1899 Buffalo Football season.

Although standing just 5 foot, 7 inches and weighing 160 lbs, McPherson was a star halfback at both Geneseo Normal and Training School (now SUNY Geneseo) from 1896-1897 and at the University at Buffalo from 1898 to 1900.  In addition to football, McPherson was also a boxer and track star who could run 100 yards in nearly 10 seconds flat.

1899 UB Football Team

1899 UB Football Team

He served as the head football coach at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio during the 1902 and 1903 seasons compiling an overall record of 6 won, 6 lost and 1 tie.

Peter McPherson was born in Caledonia, New York on May 17, 1874. McPherson graduated from the University at Buffalo Dental School in 1902. After his playing days, Dr. McPherson worked as a dentist in Caledonia for 38 years.

He died in 1941 at the age of 69 after succumbing to injuries sustained when struck by a car.

For more information on football at the University at Buffalo, visit the UB Sports History Collection website.

Jimmy Hoffa in Buffalo – January 10, 1960

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Jimmy Hoffa in Buffalo on January 10, 1960.On January 10, 1960, Jimmy Hoffa visited Buffalo, NY.  Hoffa, at the time the Teamsters union president, was one of the most controversial labor leaders in America.

During his eight hour visit to Buffalo, Hoffa participated in a press conference, spoke to 125 University of Buffalo law students at a closed meeting at the Law School, and addressed 1,000 union members and officers at Kleinhans Music Hall.

During his Kleinhans Music Hall speak, Hoffa railed against Senator John F. Kennedy calling him a “fraud on the American people.”  Hoffa also described Kennedy as “a young millionaire who never knew what it’s like to seek employment, draw a paycheck and understand the emotional feelings of individuals.

Hoffa’s one-hour meeting with University of Buffalo law students was barred from the press “because the press seems to have an effect on students which would keep them from asking questions they might want answered otherwise.

A reliable source who attended the session said Hoffa’s talk dealt with the new labor law and the Teamsters legal problems. A 40-minute question-answer period followed.