Aug. 6, 1999

a selection of Limericks

by Anonymous

a selection of Limericks

by Gerry Hamil

a selection of Limericks

by Ogden Nash

a selection of Limericks

by Nigel Andrew

Broadcast Date: FRIDAY: August 6, 1999

Poems: A selection of limericks by Gerry Hamil, Nigel Andrew, Ogden Nash, and some anonymous writers, from The Penguin Book of Limericks (Penguin Books).

At 8:15 a.m. on this day in 1945, an American B-29 dropped THE FIRST ATOMIC BOMB, nicknamed "Little Boy," on Hiroshima, Japan. It went off about 1,800 feet above ground and instantly killed around 105, 000 people; another 100,000 died later from radiation burns and poisoning.

It's the birthday in Oxford, England, 1934, of the American science fiction and fantasy writer PIERS ANTHONY, best known for his humorous Xanth series of books: stories set in a magical kingdom where almost everyone, from dragons and nymphs to the unicorns and humans, has a magical ability.

It's the birthday in 1926, Ashland, Pennsylvania, of JANET ASIMOV, writer of the Norby Series of science fiction books for young readers. The series started in the early 1980s, and includes the story of Jeff Wells and his little robot friend Norby.

It's the birthday in Boston, 1909, of children's author, NORMA FARBER, who wrote all kinds of books including nonsense ballads, instructional alphabets, counting stories, all of which were written in rhyme and meant to be read aloud. She is best known for As I Was Crossing the Boston Common, which won the 1976 National Book Award; a turtle narrates the book, and tells about the animals he meets one day as he crosses the Boston Common, creatures that parade by him in alphabetical order.

It's the birthday in Lincolnshire, England, 1809, of poet ALFRED LORD TENNYSON. He is best known for the long poem he dedicated to his best friend Arthur Henry Hallam, "In Memoriam A. H. H."

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 Jeffrey Harrison 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 »