Apr. 30, 1998

Poem About Morning

by William Meredith


Today's Reading: "Poem About Morning" by William Meredith from EFFORT AT SPEECH: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, published by Triquarterly Books (1997).

It was on this day in 1975 that SAIGON FELL and the Vietnam War was over. American troops had pulled out two years earlier but the war went on - until April 30 when the South Vietnamese government surrendered and North Vietnamese tanks rolled into Saigon without a fight. On July 2, 1976, the country was officially united as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.

ADOLF HITLER ended his own life on this day in 1945, holed up in his bunker in central Berlin. He hadn't stepped outside since January, and he'd become delusional, studying horoscopes and fantasizing about massive new troop movements and secret weapons that would save Germany. But in April the Red Army was bombarding Berlin and the end was in sight. On April 28 he married Eva Braun, a shop clerk from Munich who'd been his mistress, and on April 30 he named Josef Goebbels chancellor, said good-bye to his few remaining friends in the bunker, then gave a cyanide tablet to Eva and shot himself.

It's the birthday in Pittsburgh, 1945, of ANNIE DILLARD, the author of the collection of essays called Pilgrim at Tinker Creek which won the 1975 Pulitzer for nonfiction. Tinker Creek is in a valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and the book records one year, from January to December, spent living by the creek.

It's the birthday in San Francisco of ALICE B. TOKLAS, 1877, best remembered as the partner of Gertrude Stein. The two American writers shared an apartment in Paris for nearly 40 years and it became the center of the American expatriate arts community between the world wars.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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