Mar. 26, 2000

Loveliest of Trees, The Cherry Now

by A. E. Housman

Broadcast Date: SUNDAY: March 26, 2000

Poem: "Loveliest of Trees," by A.E. Houseman.

On this day in 1953, JONAS SALK ANNOUNCED THE SUCCESSFUL RESULTS OF A POLIO VACCINE in 161 people, including himself and his family. At that point, polio was striking 58,000 Americans every year, and killing 3,000 of them. He said of his testing, "When you inoculate children, you don't sleep well for two or three months."

It's the birthday of poet NUNZIO GREGORY CORSO, born in New York City (1930). He was left with foster parents when his 18-year-old immigrant mother returned to Italy, and he grew up a juvenile delinquent. Before he was 20, he spent three years in prison for attempted robbery. But while he was there, he devoured books, and started writing poetry. He was soon discovered by Allen Ginsberg.

On this day in 1920 F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel, THIS SIDE OF PARADISE, WAS PUBLISHED. Fitzgerald's girlfriend, Zelda Sayre, had told him she wouldn't marry him until he had established himself as a writer. Eight days after this publication, Scott and Zelda were married.

It's the birthday of playwright TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, born Thomas Lanier Williams, in Columbus, Mississippi (1911). Author of The Glass Menagerie (1944), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), Night of the Iguana (1961), and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955).

It's the birthday of the poet ROBERT FROST, born in San Francisco (1874). He lived in England for three years, where he published his first two books of poetry, and came back to America a popular favorite. He sometimes farmed and sometimes taught, but mostly he supported himself through his work and his readings.

It's the birthday of the poet A(lfred) E(dward) HOUSMAN, born in Fockbury, Worcestershire, England (1859). Author of two small volumes of poems: A Shropshire Lad (1896), and Last Poems (1922).

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