That time Reynolds Price invited Robert E. Lee to Duke

[Reynolds] Price hung a portrait of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, photographed a week before Lee died, almost at floor level in his office, where he could see it every time he rolled by. Lee’s portrait made Reynolds think of King Lear and stimulated both a dream and the long poem ‘The Dream of Lee'(1979).”

— From “Dream of a House: The Passions and Preoccupations of Reynolds Price” by Alex Harris and Margaret Sartor (2017)

In his poem Price has driven Lee from Lexington, Va., to Duke, where he will conclude his visit with a speech to students: “He faces his crowd and says ‘I shall read from my poems tonight.’ Slightly chilled, I think ‘The Poems of Lee’ — is there any such book? Before I decide, the great voice starts — ‘First a poem I composed two days ago for  my friend Mr. Price’…. ”

 

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