Saturday

Aug. 21, 1999

Destruction

by Joanne Kyger

Broadcast Date: SATURDAY: August 21, 1999

Poem: "Destruction," by Joanne Kyger, from A Book of Luminous Things (by permission of the author).

The MAINE HIGHLAND GAMES are today in Brunswick. There's the tossing of the caber, wheat sheaf toss, and putting of the stone, as well as bagpipe bands, border collie herding demonstrations, and Highland dancing.

The SMOKY MOUNTAIN FIDDLERS CONVENTION is this weekend, in Loudon, Tennessee.

HAWAII was admitted to the Union 40 years ago today, 1959, as the 50th state. Right after President Dwight Eisenhower made the announcement, the new 50-star flag was unfurled at the White House.

It is the birthday today of the playwright MART CROWLEY, born 1935 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He is best known for the play Boys in the Band, the first play to have characters that were openly gay. When Crowley died in 1991, he left behind two other plays, Remote Asylum (1970), and A Breeze From the Gulf (1973).

It's the birthday of poet JOSEPH CHARLES KENNEDY, who writes under the pen name of X. J. KENNEDY, born in Dover, New Jersey, 1929. His first collection came out in 1961, called Nude Descending a Staircase. He said: "As a poet, I have printed few lines that fail to rhyme. Though I admire poets who can dispense with such formalities, I find I need them. Many today dismiss the sonnet and other traditional forms as drab boxes for cramming with words. But to me the old forms are where the primitive and surprising action is."

It's COUNT BASIE's birthday, born William Basie in Red Bank, New Jersey, 1904.

It is the birthday today of the artist AUBREY BEARDSLEY, born 1872 in Brighton, England. It was his nude illustrations that scandalized the Edwardians in Wilde's The Yellow Book. In addition to illustrating that famous periodical, Beardsley produced pictures for Wilde’s Salome and Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur; he also illustrated The Savoy, The Rape of Lock, and Lysistrata.

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 »