Aug. 30, 1999
Mother's Nerves; Should All of This Come True; Vulture
Three Poems: "Mother's Nerves," "Should All of This Come True," and "Vulture" all by X. J. Kennedy, from Cross Ties: Selected Poems (The University of Georgia Press).
It's the birthday of writer MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT SHELLEY, author of Frankenstein, born in 1797, London. She was the only daughter of the philosopher William Godwin and the feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft. She married the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1814, and he said that she came as close to the ideal woman as any he'd ever found. When she was only 19 years old, she and her husband and two friends got into a contest to see who could write the best ghost story. Shelley wrote FRANKENSTEIN for the occasion. This is the moment of the monster's creation: "By the dim and yellow light of the moon, as it forced its way through the window shutters, I beheld the wretchthe miserable monster whom I had created. His eyes, if eyes they may be called, were fixed on me. His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks."
It was on this day in 1637 that ANN HUTCHINSON was banished from Massachusetts and went with her family to settle Rhode Island. She was a liberal-minded woman in Puritan Boston, in trouble for inviting other women to stop by her house one afternoon a week to discuss the previous Sunday's sermon.
It's the birthday of the British physicist ERNEST RUTHERFORD, 1871, Nelson, New Zealand, who discovered that the basic structure of the atom is a nucleus surrounded by electrons, and that radiation is produced when atoms disintegrate. His research was ultimately used to build the nuclear bomb. He had strong ideas about the importance of physics, and said, "All science is either physics, or stamp collecting."
It's the birthday in London, 1906, of writer ELIZABETH LONGFORD, best known for her biographies of British historical figures like Queen Victoria, The Duke of Wellington, Lord Byron and Winston Churchill, that started coming out in the 1960s.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®