Jan. 22, 1999


by Howard Moss


Poem: "Bores," by Howard Moss, from A Swim off the Rocks: The Light Verse of Howard Moss (Atheneum, 1976).

It was on this day in 1964 that the TWENTY-FOURTH AMENDMENT to the Constitution was ratified-the amendment that abolished the "poll tax" or the fee that had to be paid to vote in Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, and Virginia. The poll tax had been created in the 1880s and 1890s as a means of disenfranchising poor blacks.

It was on this day in 1944 that 50,000 Allied troops made a surprise landing at the Italian city of ANZIO, just 33 miles south of Rome, and established a beachhead in less than 24 hours and completely surprising the Germans. Over the next four months the area saw some of the worst fighting of the war.

It was on this day in 1938 that Thornton Wilder's play "OUR TOWN" premiered at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey, a play about the everyday events in the town of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire in 1901. The play won the Pulitzer Prize in 1938.

It's the birthday of poet, editor, and playwright HOWARD MOSS, born in 1922 in New York City, author of over 12 volumes of poetry and poetry editor for over 40 years at The New Yorker magazine, which he joined in 1948.

It's the birthday in 1849 of Swedish playwright AUGUST STRINDBERG, born in Stockholm, author of many plays and novels in late 1800s including The Father, Miss Julie, and The Creditors.

It's the birthday in 1788 of the English Romantic poet LORD BYRON, born George Gordon Byron in London.

Today is the birthday of the physicist who founded the science of electromagnetism, ANDRÉ-MARIE AMPERE, born in 1775 in Lyon, France. The unit of electricity, "ampere," is named after him.

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




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