Apr. 24, 2000

Sonnet 102: My love is strengthened, though more weak in seeming

by William Shakespeare

Broadcast Date: MONDAY: April 24, 2000

Poem: Sonnet 102, by William Shakespeare (1564-1616).

On this day in 1800, THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS CREATED THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. 3,000 volumes had been collected between 1800-1814 when the library was set on fire by the British during the War of 1812 (August 24, 1814). The loss was mitigated by the purchase of former President Thomas Jefferson's 6,000 volume private library (January, 1815). The Library has begun to digitize many of its images and documents, bringing over one million items from the Library's holdings to the World Wide Web.

It's the birthday of American crime novelist SUE GRAFTON, born in Louisville, Kentucky (1940). She's the author of a series of mystery novels, starting with " A" Is For Alibi,and " B" Is For Burglar. She delivers a completed manuscript for another letter of the alphabet to her publisher every August 15th. She figures she will be sixty-eight years old when " Z" Is For Zero is published; her hero, Kinsey Millhone, will only be forty.

On this day in Dublin in 1916, a force of 2,000 IRISH NATIONALISTS stormed the General Post Office, seized it, and DECLARED IRISH INDEPENDENCE FROM GREAT BRITAIN. The leaders of the rebellion, Patrick Pearse, Joseph Plunkett, and James Connolly, proclaimed a provisional Republican government. It was the day after Easter Sunday, and the uprising lasted less than one week. By Thursday, the British army had established positions around the Post Office. By Saturday, Pearse had surrendered. Sir John Maxwell, the British Commander in Chief, ordered the peremptory execution of 15 insurrectionists while he continued to hunt down and incarcerate members of Sinn Fein, whom he assumed was behind the uprising. Maxwell's harshness inspired a newfound patriotism, and drove Irish citizens in droves to join Sinn Fein, the nationalist organization against British rule. George Bernard Shaw said, "It is absolutely impossible to slaughter a man [Pearse] in this position without making him a martyr and a hero even though the day before the rising he may have been only a minor poet."

It's the birthday of American poet and political activist GEORGE OPPEN, born in New Rochelle, New York (1908). He was one of the foremost Objectivist poets, emphasizing the poem as an object in itself, not as a vehicle of meaning or association.

It's the birthday of poet and novelist ROBERT PENN WARREN, the nation's first Poet Laureate, born in Guthrie, Kentucky (1905). He's the author of the novel, All the King's Men (1946).

It's the birthday of English novelist, ELIZABETH GOUDGE, born in Wells, Somerset, England (1900). Although she wrote several successful novels, she remained most proud of her plays. "Plays, just because they are so difficult and I never have any success with them, are still my first love."

Its the birthday of English novelist ANTHONY TROLLOPE, born in London, England (1815), who wrote novels of Victorian country life. His best-loved and most famous work is Chronicles of Barsetshire, set in an imaginary cathedral community, full of the social and political intrigue of Victorian England. He also wrote He Knew He Was Right (1869), Kept In The Dark (1882), and the satirical Eustace Diamonds (1872).

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




  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
The Writer's Almanac on Facebook

The Writer's Almanac on Twitter

Subscribe to our daily newsletter for poems, prose and literary history every morning
An interview with Jeffrey Harrison at The Writer's Almanac Bookshelf
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show
O, What a Luxury

Although he has edited several anthologies of his favorite poems, O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound forges a new path for Garrison Keillor, as a poet of light verse. Purchase O, What a Luxury »