Jan. 15, 1999

Letter to N.Y.

by Elizabeth Bishop


Poem: Elizabeth Bishop, "Letter to N.Y.," from The Complete Poems 1927-1979 (Noonday Press of Farrar, Straus & Giroux).

It's Reverend Doctor MARTIN LUTHER KING Jr.'s birthday, Atlanta, Georgia, 1929. After getting degrees in sociology and religion he moved to Montgomery, Alabama in 1954, and pastored Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. King's leadership throughout the year-long Montgomery bus boycott put him in the forefront of the civil rights movement. He became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 34.

It's the anniversary of the KELLOGG-BRIAND ANTI-WAR PACT, ratified by the U.S. Senate on this day in 1929 and designed to outlaw war as an instrument of national policy. Almost every country in the world signed it. But there was no enforcement measure in the pact, especially for undeclared wars, and two years later the Japanese invaded Manchuria in northeastern China. Ten years later, WWII broke out.

It's the birthday of JOSEPH BREUER, Vienna, 1842, one of the pioneers of psychoanalysis and a mentor to Sigmund Freud. Breuer became well known in 1880s Vienna, when he began using hypnosis to treat a woman known only as "Anna O." who complained of severe phobias. He and Freud struck up a friendship and wrote the book Studies on Hysteria, in 1895, but then the relationship cooled and they went their separate ways.

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




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