Feb. 25, 2000
Poem: "White" by Mark Irwin from Quick, Now, Always (Boa Editions, Ltd.).
It's the birthday of in Manchester, England, 1917 of novelist Anthony Burgess, best known for the 1962 novel, A Clockwork Orange. The title is an old Cockney saying that means "bizarre." Burgess wrote 50 books as well as dozens of musical compositions, most of them for chorus or solo voice, including a musical version of A Clockwork Orange. He said, "I wish people would think of me as a musician who writes novels, instead of a novelist who writes music on the side."
It's the birthday of tenor Enrico Caruso, in Naples, Italy, 1873. His parents had 21 children and he was number 18, the first to survive past infancy. The family was poor and he left school early to start singing anywhere he could to make moneystreet festivals, churches, and to crowds lined up outside bathhouses. He made his way to Milan, then London, and finally to the Met in New York which became his favorite house and where he sang every year from 1903-1920. He gave credit for his success to what he called the singer's most important attributes: "a big chest, a big mouth, 90% memory, 10% intelligence, lots of hard work and something in the heart."
It's the birthday in Limoges, France, 1841, of the Impressionist painter, Renoir, who got his start as a teenager in a porcelain factory painting bouquets on plates. Later, he met up with Monet and Cézanne in school and they broke with tradition by taking their easels out of the studio to paint bathers, crowds of people in cafes, sunlight on water… trying to get the images down exactly as they saw them without making them fancier than they actually were.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®