Sep. 20, 1998

A Notch In the Spiral

by Margaret Hasse


Today's Reading: "A Notch in the Spiral" by Margaret Hasse from STARS ABOVE STARS BELOW, published by New Rivers Press (1984).

American poet and author DONALD HALL was born today in New Haven, Connecticut, 1928. His first book of poems, Exiles and Marriages, was published in the mid-1950s and he taught school for many years before leaving to write full-time. He has written of fatherhood, baseball, marriage and loss in more than 22 books of prose, four plays and 12 books of verse including The Museum of Clear Ideas (1993), The Old Life (1996) and String Too Short to Be Saved, in which he told of summers spent farming with his New Hampshire grandfather.

The English author and poet STEVIE SMITH was born this day in Hull, England, 1902. As a child she had a touch of perit onitis and was sent to live in a board house to recover. To cope, she read everything she could get her hands on, from Greek and Roman mythology to fairy tales and Lewis Carroll. "Reading is an appetite which grows as it feeds and if you give it weak and second-rate stuff it will never grow strong." She spent most of her life living with an aunt in the same house in northern London, and worked as a secretary and then at home, caring for her elderly aunt. Her poetry readings became popular in the 1960s and she always kept busy, made radio broadcasts, recordings and wrote three novels, plus short stories that often included her own comic drawings. Her first book of poems A Good Time Was Had by All (1937) and Not Waving but Drowning (1957) were followed by Me Again: Uncollected Writings of Stevie Smith, Illustrated by Herself (1981).

FERDINAND LAMENTHE, JELLY ROLL MORTON ("King Porter Stomp"), the man who claimed to have invented jazz, was born in New Orleans in 1885.

Editor MAXWELL PERKINS, the man who first published F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, was born in New York City in 1884.

Humorist PETROLEUM V. NASBY (David Ross Locke), whose work was enjoyed by Abraham Lincoln, was born in Binghamton, New York, in 1833.

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