Feb. 27, 1999
Rebecca, Who Slammed Doors for Fun, and Perished Miserably
Poem: "Rebecca, Who Slammed Doors and Perished" by Hilaire Belloc, from Cautionary Verses (Alfred A. Knopf).
It's the birthday in 1902 of JOHN STEINBECK, in Salinas, California author of The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and Of Mice and Men (1937). His first three books were failures, but his fourth Tortilla Flats in 1935 finally got his career underway.
It's the birthday in Philadelphia, 1897, of contralto MARIAN ANDERSON. She moved to Europe in the 30s and sang in all the major cities there. In 1955, near the end of her career when she broke the color barrier at the Met in New York, singing Verdi's "A Masked Ball." She described racism as being "like a hair across your cheek: You can't see it, you can't find it with your fingers, but you keep brushing at it because the feel of it is irritating."
It's the birthday of HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW, in 1807, Portland, Maine, author of "The Song of Hiawatha," "The Courtship of Miles Standish" and "Paul Revere's Ride." He was the first poet to make a living off of royalties. His poems were translated into at least 20 languages by the time he died in 1882. Walt Whitman called him, "the poet of the mellow twilight of the past, the poet of all sympathetic gentleness, and the universal poet of young people."
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