May 21, 2000

Applying for a Loan with the help of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles

by David Wagoner

Broadcast Date: SUNDAY: May 21, 2000

Poem: "Applying for a Loan with the Help of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles," by David Wagoner from Traveling Light (U. of Illinois Press).

It's the birthday of the greatest Italian poet, Dante Alighieri, born in Florence (1265) to a nobleman moneylender. The first time he saw his lifelong love, Beatrice Portinari, they were both 9 years old. There's no evidence that she ever returned his passion, and she married another man. His boyish, unrequited passion for her is recounted in La Vita Nuova, or, The New Life (1293), a collection of lyric poems. At 35 he entered politics, and for several years was a leader in Florence, but within a decade (1309), while away on a diplomatic mission, he was accused of opposing the pope, and was sentenced to death. He lived the rest of his life in exile, rambling around Italy, reduced nearly to begging, until the last 3 years of his life, spent in Ravenna (1318-1321). It was during his banishment from Florence that he wrote his masterpiece, The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Parasdiso. Dante died of malaria, at 55, shortly after completing Paradiso.

It's the birthday of poet and satirist Alexander Pope, born in London (1688). He's the author of The Rape of the Lock (1714), and An Essay on Criticism (1711). In his thirties he issued translations of Homer's Illiad (1720) and Odyssey (1726). Alexander Pope wrote,

"Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of mankind is Man."
"A little learning is a dangerous thing."

It's the birthday of American ethnologist Frances Densmore, born in Red Wing, Minnesota (1867). For 60 years—she lived to be 90—she traveled from village to village, collecting songs of the Sioux Indians.

On this day in 1881, the American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton. She was a nurse during the American Civil War, and also in Europe during the Franco -Prussian War. It was in Europe that she learned about the International Red Cross, and when she came back to the States, she started the American organization.

It's the birthday of songwriter, singer and pianist (Thomas Wright) "Fats" Waller, born in Harlem, New York City (1904). He wrote "Ain't Misbehavin," "Honeysuckle Rose," "Keeping out of Mischief," and many other songs.

It's the birthday of popular novelist Harold Robbins, born in New York City (1916). The name on his birth certificate was Francis Kane, but he never knew who his parents were. When he was adopted by a family named Rubins, and took their name.

It's the birthday of poet Robert Creely, born in Arlington, Massachusetts (1926), founder of the Black Mountain movement in poetry in the1950s.

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




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