Dec. 13, 1999
Barbie Joins a Twelve Step Program
Poem: "Barbie Joins a Twelve Step Program" by Denise Duhamel from Kinky, published by Orchises Press.
It's poet JAMES WRIGHT's birthday, 1927, Martin's Ferry, Ohio, whose Collected Poems won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize. His father worked for 50 years at a glass factory, his mother left school at 14 to work in a laundry, and a lot of Wright's poems are about the poverty and loneliness of working people.
It's writer and political activist MITCHELL GOODMAN's birthday, 1923, in Brooklyn. Author of the 1961 novel, The End of It, based on his experiences in WWII.
It's the anniversary of the Civil War BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, 1862, one of the worst defeats for the Union army. When the South moved its capital to Richmond, Virginia, the little town of Fredericksburg, about 60 miles northwest on the Rappahannock River, became strategically important. In late November, Union General Ambrose Burnside ordered pontoon bridges built across the river: the plan was to capture Fredericksburg, then continue downriver to Richmond. But the pontoons took weeks to arrive and build, which gave Confederate General Robert E. Lee all the time he needed to position his men and guns on the hills above town. On December 13, Burnside ordered wave after wave of Union soldiers across the river and up the hills. Around 10,000 were cut down. It was the North's most humiliating up to that point.
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