Aug. 3, 1999
Poem: "Hoeing," by John Updike, from Telephone Poles and Other Poems (Alfred A. Knopf).
It's the birthday in Akron, Ohio, 1962, of writer WALTER KIRN, author of the short 1990 story collection, My Hard Bargain; and the 1992 novel, She Needed Me. He was also a reviewer for the New Yorker and other magazines.
Samuel Beckett's play, WAITING FOR GODOT, was performed for the first time in English on this day in 1955, at the Arts Theater in London. Beckett, who was Irish, actually wrote Godot in French, and the play had its world premiere in Paris two years earlier. About half the audience walked out during the London premiere.
It's the birthday of poet DIANE WAKOSKI, born in Whittier, California, 1937. She taught Junior High for a while, then left that and supported herself entirely through her own poetry; she wrote and published new work, gave as many as eighty readings a year, and did short guest-professorships until she finally settled down to teach at Michigan State.
Poet MARVIN BELL's birthday is today, born in 1937, New York City. He's written several collections, but is best known for Stars Which See, Stars Which Do Not See, which made him a National Book Award finalist in 1977. He said: "American poetry has been tiresome in its discovery of the individual self, over and over and over, and its discovery of emotions that, indeed, we all have: loneliness, fear, despair, etcetera. We know these things. It's ultimately pleasanter and healthier for everyone if one thinks of the self as being very small and unimportant."
It's the birthday in 1929, Cuero, Texas, of ANNETTE SANFORD, who taught high school English for twenty-five years in Ganado, Texas, then retired and started writing. She is known for writing, among other things, romance novels. She has created nearly two dozen of them under the pen names of Mary Carroll, Meg Dominique, Lisa St. John, Anne Star, and Anne Shore.
It's the birthday in Baltimore, 1924, of novelist LEON URIS. He is the author of Exodus, a novel about the formation of the State of Israel; it was a big best seller in 1958.
It's the birthday in Oxford, 1920, of the English crime novelist P.D. JAMES Phyllis Dorothy James. Her husband had returned from W.W.II traumatized and had to be institutionalized for years. She had two young children to support on her own, so she wrote early in the morning before going to work as a hospital administrator, on the commuter train, or on weekends. Now there are fourteen P.D. James mysteries.
It's the birthday outside of Dana, Indiana, 1900, of the W.W.II correspondent ERNIE PYLE. In the '30s he was a roving-reporter for Scripps-Howard, traveling the country writing about how ordinary folks coped with the Great Depression. During the war he turned to writing about the everyday life of the G.I. He was killed by a sniper in the South Pacific in April, 1945.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®