Saturday

May 16, 1998

Casey at the Bat

by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

SATURDAY 5/16

Today's Reading: "Casey at the Bat" by Ernest Lawrence Thayer.

It's the birthday in Baltimore of ADRIENNE RICH, born in 1929, author of nearly 20 volumes of poetry, like Dark Fields of the Republic, published in 1995, and An Atlas of the Difficult World, in 1994. Her collection, Diving into the Wreck, won the National Book Award in 1974.

It's the birthday in Milwaukee, 1913, of jazz sax and clarinet player, WOODY HERMAN, who got his start in a vaudeville act billed as "The Boy Wonder of the Clarinet." In 1936 he formed his own group, called "The Band That Plays the Blues," and their big hit was a little tune based on a blues riff called "Woodchoppers Ball." Wherever the band played, the crowd always asked him for "Woodchoppers Ball;" near the end of his life he said, "I've been sick of that song for 20 years, but it's been such a big number I really shouldn't knock it."

It's the birthday in the Bronx, 1912, of STUDS TERKEL, who moved to Chicago when he was 11 and has spent the better part of his life there working as an actor, sports columnist, disc jockey, playwright but most Chicagoans know him for his radio interviews that began in the 1930s. Interviews with everyday people, asking them about their jobs, their experiences during the Depression and WWII, which he turned into books like, Hard Times; The Good War (which won a Pulitzer); and probably his best-known book, the 1974 Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do.

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

 









«

»

  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
The Writer's Almanac on Facebook


The Writer's Almanac on Twitter

Subscribe to our daily newsletter for poems, prose and literary history every morning
An interview with Jeffrey Harrison at The Writer's Almanac Bookshelf
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show
O, What a Luxury

Although he has edited several anthologies of his favorite poems, O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound forges a new path for Garrison Keillor, as a poet of light verse. Purchase O, What a Luxury »