Jan. 26, 2000

Mid-Term Break

by Seamus Heaney

Broadcast Date: WEDNESDAY: January 26, 2000

Poem: "Mid-Term Break" by Seamus Heaney from his Selected Poems 1966-1987 published by The Noonday Press.

On this day in 1965, rioting broke out in India after the announcement that Hindi was to be the nationís official language from that day on. Of Indiaís 1,000 different languages and dialects, Hindi was the one most widely spoken, but only by 30 percent of the population.

Itís the birthday of playwright Christopher Hampton, born on Fayal Island in the Azores (1946). Heís best known for his adaptation of the French play Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1985), by Choderlos de Laclos, which was a big hit on both stage and screen.

Itís the birthday of cartoonist Jules Feiffer, born in New York City (1929)—whose "Feiffer" comic strip has run since 1956.

On this day in 1907, J.M. Syngeís three-act comedy The Playboy of the Western World opened at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. The play angered many in the audience, who accused Synge of reducing the peasantry to alcoholic dreamers, altogether gullible and incapable of governing themselves; violence broke out and police were summoned to restore order.

Itís the birthday of childrenís author Mary (Elizabeth) Mapes Dodge, born in New York City (1831). Widowed at 27 with two sons to support, she wrote a collection of children ís stories successful enough that her publisher asked for more; Hans Brinker was the result. It went through 100 editions in her own lifetime.

Down Under, today is called Australia Day. In 1788 on this date, Captain Arthur Phillip of the HMS Endeavour, with his fleet of 6 transport ships, dropped anchor in Botany Bay, and established a British penal colony there. Aboard these arriving ships were 570 men and 160 women. 48 other passengers had been buried at sea after dying of smallpox during the 36-week voyage from England.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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