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Phi Beta Kappa
Posted by: Linda (
Date: December 23, 2003 06:39PM

I've recently been reading "Contemporary American Poetry" Penguin, 1962.
W.D. Snodgrass, The Examination is footnoted Phi Beta Kappa poem, 1961, Columbia University. Adrienne Cecile Rich, Readings of History, is Phi Beta Kappa poem, 1960, College of William and Mary.

What does this mean? Phi Beta Kappa is some sort of students' society, isn't it? Why do they want poems?

Re: Phi Beta Kappa
Posted by: kevin (
Date: December 23, 2003 11:33PM

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Phi Beta Kappa appears to be an organization founded in 1776 that's a leading advocate for the education of liberal arts and sciences. It appears that they probably advertise their involvement in liberal arts education by supporting and taking part in a variety of different publications and readings.

This is what I gather from their web site. I am not a member, so I'm not sure of the benefits for advocating in this manner.

Re: Phi Beta Kappa
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: December 24, 2003 04:04PM

Linda, I think it means that the Phi Beta Kappa member of the class of 1960 at Wm & Mary College chose this poem to be read at their commencement ceremony.

Here's an article about this year's Phi Beta Kappa ceremony at Harvard:

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From this article I take it that each graduating Phi Beta Kappa group chooses a SPEAKER and a POET to address their send-off.

And here's the Phi Beta Kappa poem that Phyllis McGinley wrote for the Columbia University class of 1953:

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Web-search for ["Phi Beta Kappa" + poem] to find more.


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