Mar. 25, 2000
No Tool or Rope or Pail
Poem: "No Tool or Rope or Pail," by Bob Arnold, from Where Rivers Meet (Mad River Press).
On this day in 1960, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that the unabridged version of LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER by D(avid) H(erbert) Lawrence, WAS NOT OBSCENE, and could be sent through the U.S. mail. The ruling was unanimous. One judge asked, "Should a mature and sophisticated reading public be kept in blinders because a government official thinks reading certain works of power and literary value are not good for him?" A British court issued a similar verdict shortly afterwards. During this wave of litigation, over 6 million copies of the book were sold. Lawrence missed all the excitement; he had been dead 30 years.
It's the birthday of novelist and poet SUSAN FROMBERG SCHAEFFER, born in Brooklyn (1941), author of Buffalo Afternoon (1988), The Golden Rope (1996), and The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat (1997).
It's the birthday of feminist writer and activist GLORIA STEINEM, born in Toledo, Ohio (1934). Her childhood was spent traveling with her parents in trailers; she didn't attend school regularly until she was 12. In 1971 she helped found the National Women's Political Caucus and the Women's Action Alliance, and edited the first issue of Ms. magazine.
It's the birthday of novelist and short-story writer (Mary) FLANNERY O'CONNOR, born in Savannah, Georgia (1925). She once said that the climax of her life occurred when she was six: Pathé News visited her farm and shot a newsreel of her with a chicken that walked backwards. Her first novel, Wise Blood was published in 1952. Shortly afterward, she was stricken with lupus, which had killed her father when she was 12. She moved back to live with her mother on a farm in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she took drugs to control the disease and continued to write. Her titles include A Good Man Is Hard to Find, and Other Stories (1955), The Violent Bear It Away (1960), and Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965).
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®