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Presidential Custom

In 1905 Teddy Roosevelt was apprised (by his son) of the existence of a certain remarkable collection of poems by E.A. Robinson (The Children of the Night).

So impressed was the President that he created in the New York Custom House a well-paid sinecure for the indigent poet: "I expect you to think poetry first," he later explained, "and customs second."

[Each day Robinson showed up to work, opened his desk, read the newspaper, closed his desk, and went home, leaving the paper on his chair to show that he had come in. This plum position nourished the budding poet for four years; by the time Taft had become president and threatened to end the cozy arrangement, the poet, having found his wings, was able to resign.]

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