Thursday

Jul. 29, 1999

In Another's Hands

by Henry Taylor

Broadcast Date: THURSDAY: July 29, 1999

Poem: "In Another's Hands," by Henry Taylor, from Understanding Fiction (Louisiana University Press).

It's the birthday in Seoul, South Korea, 1965, of the American novelist CHANG-RAE LEE, author of Native Speaker (1995), which won the PEN Award. His new novel, A Gesture Life, comes out in September.

It's the birthday in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1905, of poet STANLEY KUNITZ, winner of the 1959 Pulitzer Prize for his Selected Poems and the 1995 National Book Award for his collection Passing Through.

It's the birthday in 1869, Indianapolis, of writer BOOTH TARKINGTON, best known for his stories of life in the Midwest early in this century. He wrote the "Penrod" series, about the young boy Penrod Schofield, based on Tarkington's own memories of growing up in Indiana, The Magnificent Ambersons (1918), and Alice Adams (1922). He was probably the most prolific author in America early in this century; he wrote many short stories, 21 novels, and 19 plays.

On July 29, 1868, President Andrew Johnson proclaimed the FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT to the Constitution, granting former slaves the right to vote. It was known as the "Reconstruction Amendment."

It's the birthday in Paris, 1805, of the political scientist and writer, ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE, author in 1840 of the four-volume Democracy in America. He wrote it after a nine-month visit to the States, which actually started out as a study-tour to inspect American prisons, but became a kind of fact-finding mission that de Tocqueville wanted to use to shape France's own democracy. He said of the United States: "I know of no country, indeed, where the love of money has taken stronger hold on the affections of men and where a profounder contempt is expressed for the theory of the permanent equality of property," and "[The Americans] have all a lively faith in the perfectibility of man, they judge that the diffusion of knowledge must necessarily be advantageous, and the consequences of ignorance fatal; they all consider society as a body in a state of improvement, humanity as a changing scene, in which nothing is, or ought to be, permanent; and they admit that what appears to them today to be good, may be superseded by something better tomorrow."

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

 









«

»

  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
The Writer's Almanac on Facebook


The Writer's Almanac on Twitter

Subscribe to our daily newsletter for poems, prose and literary history every morning
An interview with Sharon Olds at The Writer's Almanac Bookshelf
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show
O, What a Luxury

Although he has edited several anthologies of his favorite poems, O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound forges a new path for Garrison Keillor, as a poet of light verse. Purchase O, What a Luxury »