Jun. 21, 1999
Poem: "Interlude," by Anne Nicodemus Carpenter, from Ma's Ram and Other Poems (Saturday Press, 1985).
It's the FIRST DAY OF SUMMER. The sun has reached its northern-most spot in the sky and for the next few days sunrises and sunsets will only vary by a few seconds.
The BATTLE OF OKINAWA ended on this day in 1945, one of the bloodiest campaigns in the Pacific during World War II. Okinawa is a big 70-mile-long island in southwestern Japan, and U.S. troops intended to take it and make their way to Tokyo. The Americans landed on Okinawa in April, 1945, and over the next three months lost about 12,000 men; the Japanese, about 100,000. Japan surrendered the island at 10 p.m., June 21. The war would end less than two months later.
It's the birthday in 1942, in rural Loudoun County, Virginia of poet HENRY TAYLOR, winner of the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for his book, The Flying Change. Taylor said, "The Pulitzer has a funny way of changing people's opinions about it. If you haven't won one, you go around saying things like `Well, it's all political' or `It's a lottery' and stuff like that. I would like to go on record as saying that although I'm deeply grateful and feel very honored, I still believe that it's a lottery and that nobody deserves it."
It's the birthday in Boston, 1931 of poet PATRICIA GOEDICKE, whose work appears in the New Yorker, Nation, and Harper's. She teaches creative writing at the University of Montana, Missoula and her collections include Crossing the Same River, The Wind of Our Going, and her most recent, Invisible Horses (1996). Her next collection, As Earth Begins To End, is due out this fall.
It's the birthday of the prolific British writer MARGARET POTTER, born in London, 1926, author of more than fifty books. She used a variety of pseudonyms: Anne Betteridge for her romance books like A Portuguese Affair; Anne Melville for her books about the Lorimer family, including The Lorimer Line, and The Last of the Lorimers. She used her own name for the children's books. She died last August, still writing right up until the end, and advising younger writers to begin work early in the day, "rather than waiting until the housework was done."
It's the birthday in Seattle, 1912, of writer MARY MCCARTHY, author of the autobiographies, Memories of a Catholic Girlhood (1957), and How I Grew (1987). Her best-known novel, The Group, came out in 1963.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®