Oct. 20, 1998


by Rick Agran


Today's Reading: "Shivaree" by Rick Agran from CROW MILK, published by Oyster River Press (1997).

It was on this day in 1944 that American troops under General Douglas MacArthur waded ashore the Philippine island of LEYTE. The Japanese army had driven MacArthur out of the Philippines two years earlier — a personal blow to him, as he'd spent the bulk of his military career there. He promised he'd be back. By Christmas, 1944, he had the island secured and inflicted horrific losses on the Japanese army.

It's ROBERT PINSKY's birthday, the nation's Poet Laureate and Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, born in Long Branch, New Jersey, 1940, and author of collections The Figured Wheel, New and Collected Poems 1965-1995, as well as The Want Bone, and History of My Heart.

It's columnist ART BUCHWALD's birthday, born in 1925, Mount Vernon, New York. He was the youngest of four and his mother died shortly after he was born. During the Depression his father couldn't keep the family together, so Buchwald lived in foster homes around New York City — and, for a time, at an orphanage. He joined the Marines and was an ordnance specialist in the Pacific during the war. In the late '40s he moved to Paris and started a column, "Paris after Dark," for the English-language newspaper, the Herald Tribune.

It's the birthday of Daniel Nathan, born in Brooklyn, 1905, who worked with his cousin Manford Lepofsky as the mystery-writing team of ELLERY QUEEN. They wrote their first mystery in 1929 on a whim, entering a contest at the last minute with the short story The Roman Hat Mystery. They followed that up with more than 35 novels featuring the detective Ellery Queen, taking turns writing the plot lines and stories, many of which were then adapted for radio, TV, and the movies.

It's the birthday of FREDERIC BARTLETT, the British psychologist born in Gloucestershire, 1886, best known for his studies of human memory. Working at Cambridge University, he began research that showed humans actually perceive very little of an experience as it happens, but when reconstructing a memory the mind fills in the gaps with previous experiences. Bartlett's major work was the 1932 book, Remembering: A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology.

It's the birthday of DANIEL OWEN, Flintshire, Wales, 1836, the writer whom the Welsh regard as their national novelist. He was the son of a coal miner and had little formal education, and for most of his life worked as a tailor or preacher. But in the 1880s and '90s he started a series of novels, written in plain-spoken Welsh, that made him famous. Their English translations are: Autobiography of Rhys Lewis; The Trials of Enoc Huws; and Dreflan, Its People and Its Affairs.

It's the birthday in 1822, Berkshire, England, of the writer and teacher THOMAS HUGHES, best known for the 1857 novel Tom Brown's School Days. The book started a whole genre of literature in Victorian England, stories about life at a boys' boarding school.

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




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