Nov. 27, 1999

Giving Away Love

by Jim Moore

Broadcast Date: SATURDAY: November 27, 1999

Poem: "Giving Away Love" by Jim Moore from The Freedom of History published by Milkweed Editions.

On this day in 1970, Russian dissident writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote to the Swedish Academy to say he was declining that year s Nobel Prize for Literature. Left unsaid was his fear that if he departed the Soviet Union to receive the prize, he wouldn't be let back in. In 1973, when his mammoth historical record The Gulag Archipelago was published in Paris, he was attacked in the Soviet press, arrested, charged with treason—and, two months later, forced into exile. Not until 1990 was his Soviet citizenship restored; he returned to Russia 4 years later (1994).

The first radio church broadcast was made on this date in 1921, in New York City. Walter J. Garvey produced the show, which he called "The Radio Church of America" and broadcast from his home on University Avenue in the Bronx. Hospitals, military installations, and radio operators had been invited to tune in. The sermon was preached by Richard J. Ward, assisted by Dr. M.H. Leventhal; hymns were sung by Clara Brookhurst and Adele Barrow.

On this day in 1912, the successful businessman Sherwood Anderson left his wife, family, and job as manager of a paint factory, in Elyria [ell-EER-ee-ah], Ohio, to go off to Chicago and become a writer. In the next few years his first two novels—both written during his manufacturing days—were published: Windy McPherson's Son (1916) and Marching Men (1917). His first mature work, and the book he s most remembered for, is Winesburg, Ohio (1919).

It s the birthday of writer James Agee [AY-jee], born in Knoxville, Tennessee (1909)—who wrote with rare clarity in a wide number of forms, from film reviews to novels to poetry to what might today be called a "nonfiction novel," Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), about the six weeks he and photographer Walker Evans spent with three sharecropping families in Alabama. Agee s novel A Death in the Family (1957), published two years after his early death—he was just 45—won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize.

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