Saturday

Apr. 29, 2000

Sonnet 94: They that have power to hurt and will do none

by William Shakespeare

Broadcast Date: SATURDAY: April 29, 2000

Poem: Sonnet 94, by William Shakespeare 1564-1616.

On this day in 1975, the final 1,000 AMERICANS WERE EVACUATED FROM SAIGON, SOUTH VIETNAM, using 81 American helicopters. Eleven marines, waiting atop the roof of the American Embassy, were the last to leave, ending the American military involvement in Vietnam.

It's the birthday of American poet YUSEF KOMUNYAKAA, born in Bogalusa, Louisiana (1947). He won a number of awards for poetry including a Pulitzer Prize for Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems.

It's the birthday of French-Canadian author and editor GILBERT La ROCQUE, born in Rosemont, Quebec (1943). He's the author of the novel Les Masques (1980).

It's the birthday of conductor ZUBIN MEHTA, born in Bombay, India (1936). His father was a musical genius who taught himself how to play the violin and founded the Bombay Symphony Orchestra. Zubin learned to play the violin and the piano by the age of seven, and by the age of sixteen was conducting full orchestral rehearsals. At the age of twenty-six, he was offered the post of musical director with the Los Angeles Philharmonic - the youngest man ever to hold that title.

It's the birthday of editor ROBERT GOTTLIEB, born in New York City (1931). As an editor at Simon & Schuster he made his mark with his first major project, a Joseph Heller manuscript titled Catch 18. He accepted the book on the strength of a few chapters, but because Leon Uris had a book in the works called Mila 18, Gottlieb suggested the now famous title: Catch-22. In 1987 he succeeded William Shawn as editor of The New Yorker magazine.

It's the birthday of conductor, composer and bandleader DUKE ELLINGTON, born in Washington, D.C. (1899). He began to study the piano when he was seven and was much influenced by ragtime pianists. In his early twenties he formed the Washingtonians, a ten-piece orchestra. During the late 20s and early 30s, the band grew to 12 musicians, and played at the Cotton Club in Harlem. The success of Mood Indigo, which he wrote in 1930, brought Ellington worldwide fame, and he began to experiment with more extended composition -- Creole Rhapsody, Reminiscin in Tempo and Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue.

It's the birthday of American chemist HAROLD UREY, born in Walkerton, Indiana (1893). He discovered heavy hydrogen, which opened the possibility of the nuclear bomb. Urey did wartime research for the Manhattan Project, but he strongly opposed nuclear weapons. He said he thought that heavy hydrogen might eventually have practical use in " something like neon signs."

It's the birthday of publishing baron William Randolph Hearst, born in San Francisco, California (1863). Hearst bought the failing New York Morning Journal when he was in his thirties. He added daily black-and-white comic strips and colored Sunday supplements to his paper as well as sensational reporting of crime, sex, scandal, sports, and human-interest stories. " A Hearst newspaper is like a screaming woman running down the street with her throat cut," one of his writer's said. Within a year the circulation had risen from 77,000 to over a million.

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 Sharon Olds 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 »