May 24, 2000

Concerto in D minor for Two Violins, Largo ma non tanto

by Marc Petrie

Broadcast Date: WEDNESDAY: May 24, 2000

Poem: "Concerto in D minor for Two Violins, Largo ma non tanto," by Marc Petrie from Then All Goes Blue (Pacific Water Press).

Itís the birthday of puppeteer and film director Frank Oz, born Frank Oznowicz, in Hereford, England (1944), the son of amateur puppeteers who emigrated to Northern California when he was five. Oz began puppeteering at age 11; when Jim Henson saw him at a puppeteer's convention, he was so impressed with Ozís abilities that he wanted to hire him on the spot, even though he was still in high school. He joined the muppets in 1963, and manipulated the characters of Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, The Cookie Monster and Bert.

On this day in 1941, fourteen-hundred men died when the worldís largest warship, Britainís HMS Hood, was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck somewhere between Greenland and Iceland.

Itís the birthday of poet Joseph Brodsky, born in Leningrad (1940). considered to be one of the Soviet Union's finest poets. His father was in the Russian navy, but lost his job because he was Jewish, and the family lived in poverty. Brodsky quit school at an early age and taught himself by reading classics. In a KGB vendetta that lasted more than ten years, he was condemned to a Soviet mental hospital, sentenced to five years in an Arctic labor camp, and later forced into exile. He moved to Michigan in 1972 and settled in at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as poet-in-residence. Widely published in the U. S., he won numerous grants and literary prizes, including the Nobel Prize in 1987.

Itís the birthday of Irish writer and sculptor William Trevor, born William Trevor Cox in Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland (1928). He's the author of the novel, The Old Boys (1964) and other books.

Itís the birthday of Russian novelist Mikhail A. Sholokhov, born in Veshenskaya, Russia (1905), who won the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature. He staunchly supported the Soviet government, and held in contempt writers such as Boris Pasternak and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who criticized it. One novel, translated in two volumes as And Quiet Flows The Don, and The Don Flows Home To The Sea, tells of the tragic struggle for independence between the Cossacks and the Bolsheviks and became the most widely read novel in the Soviet Union. Solzhenitsyn and others alleged that the book was plagiarized from a Cossack writer.

On this day in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge opened to the public, linking the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time: one-thousand-five-hundred-ninety-five-and-a-half feet.

Itís the birthday of English playwright Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, born in London (1855), the most popular and prolific English dramatist of his time. He wrote many popular farces and sentimental comedies, but his serious dramas, including The Second Mrs. Tanqueray (1893), are credited with advancing dramatic realism and revitalizing English drama.

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