May 9, 1999

A Small Excursion (selected lines)

by Mona Van Duyn

Broadcast Date: SUNDAY: May 9, 1999

Poem: Selected lines from "A Small Excursion," by Mona van Duyn, from The Collected Poems of Mona van Duyn 1959-1982 (Alfred A. Knopf).

It's the birthday in 1921, Waterloo, Iowa of MONA VAN DUYN, named the nation's Poet Laureate in 1992 and author of nine books including Near Changes (1990), for which she won the Pulitzer Prize, and the 1970 collection, To See, To Take, which won the National Book Award.

It's the birthday in Newbury, England, 1920, of RICHARD ADAMS, author of the 1972 fantasy, Watership Down, about a group of rabbits shoved out of their homes by a suburban development.

It's the birthday in West Haven, Connecticut, 1906, of children's author ELEANOR ESTES, author of three popular little books written in a child's voice that introduces the Moffat family: Sylvie, Joey, Jane, Rufus and their widowed mother who makes dresses to keep the family afloat—the titles are: The Moffats, The Middle Moffats, and Rufus M.

It's the birthday of the British archeologist, HOWARD CARTER, born in 1873, Norfolk, the man who discovered King Tut's tomb after fourteen years of digging.

It's the birthday in Angus, Scotland, 1860, of JAMES BARRIE, author of a number of books and plays around the turn of the century, the best known of which is Peter Pan, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. The book, dating from 1911, was originally entitled Peter and Wendy.

It's the birthday of BELLE BOYD, born in Martinsburg, Virginia, 1843, who was a teenager when she started spying for the Confederate Army. She collected information about Federal troops and got it to Confederate commanders. She was arrested twice but let go, and finally captured on her way to England carrying letters from the Confederate president Jefferson Davis.

The abolitionist JOHN BROWN was born on this day in Torrington, Connecticut, 1800.

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