Aug. 14, 1999
The Cab Driver's Smile
Poems: "The Cab Driver's Smile," by Denise Levertov, from The Poet in the World (New Directions).
Europe's biggest public book event, The EDINBURGH BOOK FESTIVAL, kicks off today in Scotland, and runs through the end of the month. The Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, held every fall, is the largest one in the world, but it's just for publishers and booksellers.
It's the anniversary of V-J DAY, 1945, the day when President Harry Truman announced to the nation that Japan had surrendered to the Allies. The official ratification of the surrender took place two weeks later, September 2, when the papers were signed on the decks of the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay. The American casualties in W.W.II totaled more than 1.1 million, around 400,000 dead.
It's the birthday in Bainbridge, Georgia, 1943, of poet ALFRED CORN, author of several collections. He says, "Ever since my older sister taught me, I have loved to read. And around age 10 it occurred to me that someone had to write the books that were on the shelves. No person prompted the desire to write: it simply came over me. Now, though, I think I have a clearer notion of why I write, apart from the wish to shine in public, or for money. I hope it isn't too idealistic to imagine that books can truly make a difference in our lives, that they can delight and teach us."
It's the birthday in Portland, Oregon, 1932, of writer WILLIAM KITTREDGE, who is the author of nine Westerns; his best-known piece is his memoir, Hole in the Sky (1992).
It's RUSSELL BAKER's birthday, born in 1925, in Loudon County, Virginia. His "Observer" column, which many people have read from the editorial page of the New York Times, won him the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. Baker won another Pulitzer in 1982, this time for his memoir, Growing Up.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®