May 28, 1998

Bison Crossing Near Mr. Rushmore

by May Swenson


Today's Reading: "Bison Crossing Near Mt. Rushmore" by May Swenson from NATURE, published by Houghton Mifflin Company (1994).

The PORTLAND ROSE FESTIVAL begins this weekend in Oregon and runs through June 21.

It's the birthday of MAEVE BINCHY, born near Dublin, Ireland in 1940, the author of the 1990 novel Circle of Friends. She grew up in an Irish harbor town and taught history at a girl's school in Dublin. During her summer vacations she'd travel, and when she was 23 years old wrote her father a long letter from a kibbutz in Israel, which he enjoyed so much that he submitted it to the local newspaper. The paper asked her for more, so she became a freelance columnist, eventually left teaching and went to work as the London correspondent for the Irish Times.

It's the birthday in Logan, Utah, 1919 of poet MAY SWENSON. She worked as a stenographer and editor in New York City for a time, and wrote several poems that appeared in the New Yorker. She came out with two popular poetry collections for children, Poems to Solve (1966) and More Poems to Solve (1971) that included "Analysis of Baseball." "It's about the ball, the bat, the mitt, the bases and the fans. It's done on a diamond, and for fun. It's about home, and it's about run."

It's the birthday in Birmingham, Alabama, 1916, of novelist WALKER PERCY, who wrote books about the search for faith and love in the South, books like Love in the Ruins, The Second Coming; and The Moviegoer, the story of salesman Binx Bolling who tries to find meaning in life through movies; it came out in 1961 and won the National Book Award.

It's the birthday in London, 1908, of IAN FLEMING, creator of Secret Agent 007, James Bond. During WWII he was in British naval intelligence, and afterward was asked to head a group of British newspapers - a job he took on the condition that he get two months off every year to write. Fleming turned out 12 James Bond books, about one a year, titles like Live and Let Die, and Diamonds Are Forever.

It's the birthday of the geologist and naturalist JEAN AGASSIZ, born 1807, in Motier, Switzerland. He came to the States in 1846 to give a series of lectures which led to a zoology professorship at Harvard where he taught for the rest of his life. His specialties were oceans, fish, and glaciers. He revolutionized science teaching by stressing the importance of hands-on contact with nature, rather than just books.

It's the birthday in Dublin, Ireland, 1779, of the poet and composer THOMAS MOORE, who between 1807 and 1834 published a series of books called Irish Melodies - 130 poems in all, set to his own music. He was a good singer, and performed them in London where they helped arouse sympathy for Irish nationalism; tunes like "The Last Rose of Summer," and "Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms."

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




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