Oct. 4, 1998

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

by William Butler Yeats


Today's Reading: "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" by William Butler Yeats from THE COLLECTED POEMS OF W.B. YEATS, published by Scribner.

THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART IN WASHINGTON OPENS ITS BIG VAN GOGH EXHIBITION TODAY: 70 pieces by the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, the largest exhibition of his work to be shown outside Holland in the last 25 years. It'll be there through the end of the year, then move to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art until April.

Poet ANNE SEXTON TOOK HER OWN LIFE on this day in 1974, in Weston, Massachusetts. She was 45 years old. Years earlier, in 1958, she wrote in a letter to a friend: "The future is a fog that is still hanging out over the sea, a boat that floats home or does not."

It's the 57th birthday today of humorist Roy Blount, Jr., born in Indianapolis in 1941.

It's the birthday of novelist ANNE RICE, born in New Orleans, 1941, author of the Vampire Chronicles. The first of them, Interview with the Vampire, came out in 1974, and took her only five weeks to write.

The silent film star BUSTER KEATON was born on this day, 1895, in Piqua, a little town in the southeastern corner of Kansas. He was born Joseph Francis Keaton, but got the nickname Buster when he was six months old and fell down a flight of stairs unhurt. Keaton was raised in a vaudeville family and specialized in acrobatics. In 1917 he started working on both sides of the camera, as a director and an actor, and was best known for playing deadpan characters who triumph over mind-boggling problems. His films from the mid-1920s were the most popular: The Navigator, The General, and Sherlock Jr.

It's the birthday of DAMON RUNYON, writer of Guys and Dolls, born in Manhattan, Kansas, 1884. He started his career writing for papers in the West, mostly politics and features. But he moved to New York in 1911 so he could cover sports and started writing short stories about the people who hung out on the streets in a section of Broadway — a collection published in 1931 as Guys and Dolls, in which one character says, "Always try to rub up against money, for if you rub up against money long enough, some of it may rub off on you."

It's the birthday in 1862, Elizabeth, New Jersey, of EDWARD STRATEMAYER, who began writing stories for teenagers around the turn of the century, and they became so popular that in 1906 he founded the Stratemeyer Literary Syndicate. Over the next 60 years the Syndicate put out the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Bobbsey Twins books —some of which were written by Stratemeyer himself, but others written by any number of authors working for the Syndicate.

It's the birthday in 1861, of FREDERIC REMINGTON, the painter, born in Canton, New York. He spent much of his life west of the Mississippi painting action scenes of horses, Indians, cowboys — anything to do with life on the Plains.

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




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