Aug. 12, 1998


by Robert Morgan


Today's Reading: "Honey" by Robert Morgan from WILD PEA VINES, a chapbook published by Gnonon Press. Also found in A BOOK OF LUMINOUS THINGS (an anthology edited by Czeslaw Milosz) published by Harcourt Brace.

The INDIANA STATE FAIR opens today in Indianapolis, and runs through the 23rd. And the SOUTHEAST ALASKA STATE FAIR AND ALASKAN BALD EAGLE MUSIC FESTIVAL also gets underway today, too, in Haines.

It's the birthday in Chicago, 1931 of novelist and screenwriter WILLIAM GOLDMAN, who's won two Academy Awards for best screenplay, the first in 1969 for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; and the second in 1976 for All the President's Men.

It's the birthday in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1912, of the screenwriter and director, SAMUEL FULLER, who made The Big Red One in 1980, about his combat experiences as a WWII infantryman in North Africa and Italy. He became famous for taking only a week or two to shoot his films, and at a fraction of the cost of other directors. Other stories which he turned into low-budget films: Pickup on South Street, The Naked Kiss, and Street of No Return.

It's the birthday in 1901, Upland, Pennsylvania, of poet ROBERT FRANCIS. After graduating from Harvard, he tried high school English teaching for a while, but didn't care for it. He moved to Amherst, Massachusetts and became friends with Robert Frost, who liked his poems. He lived frugally and actually made a living as a poet. Some of his best-known poems are "Swimmer," "High Diver," and "Two Wrestlers."

It's the birthday in Hillisburg, Indiana of ZERNA SHARP, born in 1889, the originator of the Dick and Jane readers for children. She never married or had children of her own, but after teaching elementary school in Chicago all day, she'd go down to the South Side beach; and it was there, listening to the children playing, that she got the idea for a series of books that introduced only one new word on each page and had no more than five new words per story.

It's the birthday in 1882, Columbus, Ohio, of GEORGE WESLEY BELLOWS, the painter of "Stag at Sharkeys," "The Cliff Dwellers," and "Dempsey and Firpo," paintings meant to get American art away from the softness of French Impressionism. He dropped out of Ohio State after his junior year and moved to New York, where he became fascinated by the bustle of big-city life, in particular crowds and boxing matches, which became frequent subjects of his work.

It's the birthday in Ashland, Massachusetts, 1881 of CECIL B. DEMILLE, the director, producer and screenwriter who made The King of Kings, The Sign of the Cross; and The Ten Commandments – twice, the first in 1923, and the second in 1956. He won an Oscar for his 1953 movie, The Greatest Show on Earth.

It's the birthday in 1859, in Falmouth, Massachusetts, of KATHARINE LEE BATES, the poet and children's writer best known for one work, the hymn "America the Beautiful," written after a visit to the top of Pike's Peak in the 1880s.

It's the birthday in Charleston, South Carolina, 1781, of architect ROBERT MILLS. He was Thomas Jefferson's favorite architect. Mills built more than 50 works around Washington – colleges, prisons, hospitals, houses, canals, bridges, and breakwaters. His best-known structure is the Washington Monument, designed in 1836, but he didn't live to see it completed; it was finished in 1884.

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




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