Mar. 18, 2000

Planting Trees

by John Updike

Broadcast Date: SATURDAY: March 18, 2000

Poem: "Planting Trees" by John Updike from his Collected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf).

It's the birthday of playwright MARK MEDOFF, born in Mount Carmel, Illinois (1940), most famous for his play, Children of a Lesser God (1979).

It's the birthday of poet MICHAEL S(teven) HARPER, born in Brooklyn (1938), author of Dear John, Dear Coltrane (1970), and other collections of poems.

It's the birthday of politician F(rederik) W(illem) de KLERK, born in Johannesburg, South Africa (1936), the son of a politician. When President P.W. Botha fell ill in 1989, de Klerk was elected leader of the National Party. He speeded up the reform process, released Nelson Mandela, lifted the ban on the A.N.C. (African National Congress), met often with black leaders, and called a referendum (1992) in which 68 percent of the country's white voters endorsed reform of the apartheid system.

It's the birthday of novelist and poet JOHN (Hoyer) UPKIKE, born in Shillington, Pennsylvania (1932). As a young child he pored over copies of the New Yorker—a gift subscription from an aunt—and grew so fond of its cartoons that he decided on his vocation early: he would be a cartoonist. At Harvard—which he attended on a scholarship—he studied literature and helped edit the Harvard Lampoon. After graduation he won a fellowship to study art at Oxford. Only on his return from England, 23 years old and married, did he give up his dream of being a cartoonist and turn seriously to writing. The best known of his novels are the four Rabbit Angstrom books: Rabbit, Run (1960); Rabbit Redux (1971); Rabbit Is Rich (1981—Pulitzer Prize, American Book Award); and Rabbit at Rest (1990—Pulitzer). His latest is Gertrude and Claudius (2000).

It's the birthday of editor and writer GEORGE (Ames) PLIMPTON, born in New York City (1927). While on vacation in Paris in 1952, he founded the Paris Review. Some of the authors he was the first to publish are Jack Kerouac, Terry Southern, Philip Roth and Henry Miller.

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




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