Oct. 25, 1999

Sonnet 73: That Time of Year Thou Mayst in Me Behold

by William Shakespeare

Broadcast Date: MONDAY: October 25, 1999

Poem: Sonnet 73, "That time of year thou mayst in me behold," by William Shakespeare.

Today is Saint Crispin's Day, named for a shoemaker who was martyred in 287.

Today is the 58th birthday of novelist Anne Tyler, born in Minneapolis (1941)—whose eccentric characters live mostly in Baltimore, where she herself has lived since 1967. She grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, and graduated from Duke University at 19, majoring in Russian. Two years later she married a child psychiatrist, and the following year published the first of her 14 novels, If Morning Ever Comes (1964). Others include Searching for Caleb (1975), The Accidental Tourist (1985), Breathing Lessons (Pulitzer Prize, 1988), and A Patchwork Planet (1998).

It's the birthday of novelist and New Yorker staff writer Harold Brodkey, born in Alton, Illinois (1930). A brilliant, fragile child, while being raised by his father's second cousin he suffered a series of nervous breakdowns. His best-known work is a huge, rambling novel called The Runaway Soul, which he labored over for 32 years before it was published in 1991, five years before his death.

It's the birthday of poet John Berryman, born in McAlester, Oklahoma (1914). He was brought up in a strict Catholic home—but then his father, a banker, shot himself when the boy was 12, leaving a permanent scar. When Berryman was 57 he committed suicide himself by jumping from a Minneapolis bridge onto the ice of the frozen Mississippi. He taught at Harvard, Princeton, and, for his last 18 years, at the University of Minnesota (1954-72). During this period he won the Pulitzer Prize for his collection Dream Songs (1964) and the National Book Award for another collection called His Toy, His Dream, His Rest (1968).

It's the birthday of historian Henry Steele Commager, born in Pittsburgh (1902)—a scholar concerned with social and constitutional issues. He taught at New York University (1926-38), Columbia University (1939-56), and Amherst College (1956-72); with Samuel Eliot Morison, he wrote The Growth of the American Republic (1930), a standard textbook in American history. His books on the Constitution include Majority Rule and Minority Rights (1944) and Freedom, Loyalty, Dissent (1954).

It's the birthday of art giant Pablo Picasso, born in Malaga [MAH-lah-gah], Spain (1881). The story goes that his father, an art teacher, gave up his own career as a painter when he gave young Pablo a drawing assignment and saw how superior the result was to anything he could do. By 16 Pablo had his first show and dropped his father's family name in favor of his mother's; by 22 he moved permanently to France. When he died at 91, he had gone through his Blue Period, his Rose Period, Cubism, surrealism, neoclassicism, modernism—and a dozen media, including oils, gouache [goo-AHSH], watercolors, pastels, ceramics, lithographs, murals, and mosaics. He produced over 6,000 pictures, including ‘Guernica,' ‘Seated Nude,' and ‘Mandolin and Guitar.'

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
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  • “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
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  • “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
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