Apr. 27, 2000

Sonnet 75: So are you to my thoughts as food to life

by William Shakespeare

Broadcast Date: THURSDAY: April 27, 2000

Poem: Sonnet 75, by William Shakespeare (1564-1616).

On this day in 1989, students from more than 40 universities ignored the warnings of violent suppression and MARCHED ON BEIJING'S TIANANMEN SQUARE IN CHINA. They were there to protest the Communist Party's newspaper editorial which accused a " small handful of plotters" of stirring up student unrest.

It's the birthday of American playwright AUGUST WILSON, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1945). He dropped out of high school, but spent a lot of time in the public library where he read works by Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, and Richard Wright. His first major play, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, was inspired by the great blues singer Bessie Smith. It opened at the Court Theater on Broadway and ran for 275 performances. From this success, he went on to write Fences, for which he won his first Pulitzer Prize for drama. The Piano Lesson earned his second Pulitzer Prize.

It's the birthday of Irish poet, critic and detective-story writer, C(ecil) DAY LEWIS, born in Ballintogher, Ireland (1904). He published some 20 books of verse, four novels, an autobiography, and a number of books of literary criticism. He also wrote several sophisticated detective novels under the pseudonym Nicholas Blake.

It's the birthday of animator WALTER LANTZ, the creator of Woody Woodpecker, born in New Rochelle, N.Y. (1900). Woody Woodpecker made his first appearance, uttering his machine-gun laugh, in Knock Knock (1940). Lantz's wife Grace was one of those who supplied Woody Woodpecker's voice.

It's the birthday of the 18th president of the United Sates, ULYSSES S. GRANT, born in Point Pleasant, Ohio (1822). Grant attended West Point, and later distinguished himself at Monterrey, Mexico. He eventually resigned from the army after being censured for intoxication. When the Civil War broke out, he answered President Lincoln's call to volunteer, and had a number of important successes in eastern Tennessee. President Lincoln made him commander of the Union armies in 1864. A brilliant strategist, he devised a military maneuver against Robert E. Lee's army which brought about the Confederate surrender at Appomattox in 1865.

It's the birthday of American artist and inventor, SAMUEL F(inley) B(reese) MORSE born in Charlestown, Massachusetts--(1791). He started his career as an accomplished painter of historical portraits, but always remained curious about electricity and the possibility of transmitting information by electric impulses. He conceived an idea for a code based on dots and dashes to send and receive messages. These would become known as the " Morse code." Congress gave him the money to build a telegraph line between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. (1843). By the time of his death in 1872, his invention was in use throughout the world.

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 »