Sam Waterston Reads ‘archy interviews a pharaoh’

Here’s a treat: a YouTube video of actor Sam Waterston reading, with great solemnity, one of Don Marquis’ craziest and most enjoyable poems, “archy interviews a pharaoh.”

The occasion was a May 14 gala in Manhattan to benefit the literary magazine Lapham’s Quarterly — the first of a series of “Decade Balls.” This one celebrated the 1920s and included readings of works by Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker and Don. 

Waterston’s selection was a poem that first appeared April 26, 1922, in Don’s Sun Dial in The Evening Sun and was later included in the 1927 book “archy and mehitabel.” Archaeological digs were making headlines at the time and so was Prohibition, making a perfect combination for satire.


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