Monday

Nov. 15, 1999

Poetry

by Marianne Moore

Broadcast Date: MONDAY: November 15, 1999

Poem: "Poetry" by Marianne Moore from Collected Poems published by Macmillan.

It was on this day in 1806 that Army lieutenant Zebulon Pike sighted the 14,000-foot-high mountain in the Front Range of the southern Rockies that came to be known as PIKE'S PEAK. He tried unsuccessfully to climb it, and it wasn't until 14 years later, in 1820, that mountaineer and explorer Stephen Long made it to the top.

It's the birthday of poet MARIANNE MOORE, born in St. Louis, 1887, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for her Collected Poems, which came out in 1951. She spent most of her life in Brooklyn, initially supporting herself as a librarian and editor, then with poetry. She was particularly fond of baseball.

It was on this day in 1939 that President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the JEFFERSON MEMORIAL overlooking the Tidal Basin and Japanese Cherry Trees in Washington, D.C. Roosevelt was a great admirer of Jefferson's writings and it was his idea to build the memorial. Four Jefferson quotes line the white marble walls, and the interior dome overhead has this inscription: "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

It's the birthday of British writer TIM PEARS, born in Kent, 1956, author of a pair of novels set in village England, In the Place of Fallen Leaves (1993) and In a Land of Plenty, which came out last year.

It's the birthday in 1959, Stockport, England of TIBOR FISCHER, best known for his comic novel, Under the Frog (1992).

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 Sharon Olds 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 »