| Quote #1
three days after Bastille day, yes (line 2)
This off-handed remark about Bastille Day is the first indication that our speaker is a serious Francophile (he likes the French).
| Quote #2
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets
Post-colonial literature, particularly African literature, was all the rage in European intellectuals circles in the 1950s. French writers like Jean-Paul Sartre were instrumental in bringing African writers to the attention of the world. The speaker feels confident (arrogant?) enough about his tastes that he can mock one of the most respected literary journals as "ugly."
| Quote #3
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine
Notice how the speaker never really sounds too excited about art, even though he knows a ton about it? He's always slightly jaded, and in these lines he almost puts himself to sleep. For the average reader, these lines probably sound like a blizzard of unfamiliar names, but they reveal the speaker's deep knowledge of 1950s cultural life.